Christmas In Ritual & Tradition - online book

The Observance Of Christmas In Various Lands And Ages.

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PAGAN SURVIVALS
makings of the Northamptonshire lacemakers. A day of general licence used to end in masquerading. Women went about in male attire and men and boys in female dress., In Kent and Sussex squirrel-hunting was practised on this dayx4a survival apparently of some old sacrificial custom comparable with the hunting of the wren at Christmas (see Chapter XII.).
In Germany St. Andrew's Eve is a great occasion for prognostications of the future. Indeed, like Hallowe'en in Great Britain, Andreasabend in Germany seems to have preserved the customs of augury connected with the old November New Year festival.XS To a large extent the practices are performed by girls anxious to know what sort of husband they will get. Many and various are the methods.
Sometimes it suffices to repeat some such rhyme as the following before going to sleep, and the future husband will appear in a dream :
" St. Andrew's Eve is to-day, Sleep all people, Sleep all children of men, Who are between heaven and earth, Except this only man, Who may be mine in marriage." l6
Again, at nightfall let a girl shut herself up naked in her bedroom, take two beakers, and into one pour clear water, into the other wine. These let her place on the table, which is to be covered with white, and let the following words be said :
" My dear St. Andrew ! Let now appear before me My heart's most dearly beloved. If he shall be rich, He will pour a cup of wine ; If he is to be poor, Let him pour a cup of water."
This done, the form of the future husband will enter and drink
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