Christmas In Ritual & Tradition - online book

The Observance Of Christmas In Various Lands And Ages.

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of one of the cups. If he is poor, he will take the water ; it' i ich, the wine.I7
One of the most common practices is to pour molten lead m tin through a key into cold water, and to discover the calling of the future husband by the form it takes, which will represent the tools of his trade. The white of an egg is sometimes used for the same purpose.18 Another very wide-spread custom is to put nutshells to float on water with little candles burning in them. There are twice as many shells as there are girls present ; each girl has her shell, and to the others the names of possible suitors are given. The man and the girl whose shells come together will marry one another. Sometimes the same method is practised with little cups of silver foil.I9
On the border of Saxony and Bohemia, a maiden who wishes to know the bodily build of her future husband goes in the darkness to a stack of wood and draws out a piece. If the wood is smooth and straight the man will be slim and well built; if it is crooked, or knotted, he will be ill-developed or even a hunchback.20
These are but a few of the many ways in which girls seek to peer into the future and learn something about the most important event in their lives. Far less numerous, but not altogether absent on this night, are other kinds of prognostication. A person, for instance, who wishes to know whether he will die in the coming year, must on St. Andrew's Eve before going to bed make on the table a little pointed heap of flour. If by the morning it has fallen asunder, the maker will die.21
The association of St, Andrew's Eve with the foreseeing of the future is not confined to the German race ; it is found also on Slavonic and Roumanian ground. In Croatia he who fasts then will behold his future wife in a dream,22 and among the Roumanians mothers anxious about their children's luck break small sprays from fruit-trees, bind them together in bunches, one for each child, and put them in a glass of water. The branch of the lucky one will blossom.23
In Roumania St. Andrew's Eve is a creepy time, for on it vampires are supposed to rise from their graves, and with coffins
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