British Popular Customs Present And Past - online book

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

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DEC. 25.]                        CHRISTMAS DAY.                                    491
person approaches the swinger, he exclaims, "Ei mi tu dial" " 111 eat your kail." To this the swinger replies, with a violent shove, " Cha ni u mu chal" " You shan't eat my kail." These threats and repulses are sometimes carried to such a height as to break down or capsize the threatener, which generally puts an end to the quarrel.
As the day advances those minor amusements are termi­nated at the report of the gun or the rattle of the ball clubs— the gun inviting the marksman to the "kiavamuchd" or prize shooting, and the latter to " Luchd-vouil" or the ball combatants—both the principal sports of the day. Tired at length of the active amusements of tlie field, they exchange them for the substantial entertainment of the table. Groan­ing under the "Sonsy-haggis " and many other savoury dainties unseen for twelve months before, the relish communicated to the company by the appearance of the festive board is more easily conceived than described. The dinner once despatched, the flowing bowl succeeds and the sparkling glass flies to and fro like a weaver's shuttle. The rest of the day is spent in dancing and games.—Grant, Popular Superstitions of the Highlands.
A writer in the Stat Ace. of Scotland (1845, vol. xv. p. 127), speaking of Westray, says:—One custom in this parish and common to Orkney at large, is that of allowing the servants four or five days' liberty at Christmas to enjoy themselves, only the most necessary part of domestic work, with due attention to the bestial on the farm, is done on these days. The master of the house has also to keep up a well-furnished table for all his servants at this season.
At Culdaff, previous to Christmas, it is customary with the labouring classes to raffle for mutton, when a sufficient number can subscribe to defray the cost of a sheep. During the Christmas holidays they amuse themselves with a game of kaipman, which consists in impelling a wooden ball with
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