British Popular Customs Present And Past - online book

A calendar of the traditional customs, practices & rituals of the British Isles.

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452                                    CHRISTMAS DAY.                        [DEC. 25.
for the especial benefit of the birds.—N. & Q. 3rd S. vol. ii. p. 505 ; see N. & Q. 3rd S. vol. iii. p. 117.
At Dewsbury, one of the church bells is tolled as at a funeral; this is called the Devil's Knell, the moral of which is that "the Devil died when Christ was born." This custom was discontinued for many years, but revived by the vicar in 1828.— Timbs' Something for Everybody, 1861, p. 150.
At Eipon, on Christmas Eve, the grocers send each of their customers a pound or half of currants and raisins to make a Christmas pudding. The chandlers also send large mould candles, and the coopers logs of wood, generally called yule clogs, which are always used on Christmas Eve; but should it be so large as not to be all burnt that night, which is frequently the case, the remains are kept till old Christmas Eve.—Gent. Mag. 1790, vol. lx. p. 719.
Cole in his Historical Sketches of Scalby, Burniston, and Cloughton (1829, p. 45) says the village choristers belonging to Scalby assemble on Christmas Eve, and remain out the whole night singing at the principal houses.
IEELAND.
A correspondent of N. & Q. (3rd S. vol. viii. p. 495) says that, in the south-east of Ireland on Christmas Eve, people hardly go to bed at all, and the first who announces the crow­ing of the cock, if a male, is rewarded with a cup of tea, in which is mixed a glass of spirits; if a female, with the tea only, but as a substitute for the whisky she is saluted with half-a-dozen of kisses.
Dec. 25.]                 CHRISTMAS DAY.
St. Chrysostom informs us that, in the primitive times, Christmas and Epiphany were celebrated at one and the same feast (Homil. in Diem Nativ. D. N. J. Christi, Opera, edit. Monfaucon, torn, iii.), probably from a belief that the rising of the star in the East and the birth of Christ were simultaneous. The separation took place at the Council of Nice, a.D. 325. The Armenians, however, continued to
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