BOOK OF CHRISTMAS - online book

The Customs, Ceremonies, Traditions, Superstitions, Fun, Feeling,
And Festivities Of The Christmas Season.

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8                               THE BOOK OF CHRISTMAS.
tion, pleasant or mournful, of his own. How many a lost hope and blighted feeling, which the heart is the better for recalling, and woald not willingly forget, would pass from the mind, amid the crowd, and noise, and bustle of the world, but for these tablets, on which it is ineffaceably written, and yearly read ! How many an act of memory, with its store of consolations and its treasure of warnings, would remain postponed, amid the interests of the present, till it came to be forgotten altogether, but for that system which has marked its positive place upon the wheels of time, and brings the record certainly before the mental eye, in their unvarying revolution ! Many are the uses of these diaries of the heart. By their aid, something is saved from the wrecks of the past for the service of the present;— the lights of former days are made to throw pleasant reflections upon many an after period of life ;—the weeds which the world and its cares had fos­tered, are, again and again, cleared away from the sweet and wholesome fountain of tears;—the fading inscriptions of other years are renewed, to yield their morals to the future ;—and the dead are restored, for a fleeting hour of sweet communion, or hold high and solemn converse with us, from the graves in which we laid them vears ago.
And this result of the minute and accurate partitions of time, which consists in the establishment of a series of points for pe­riodic celebration, is, as regards its public and social operation, more important than may at first sight appear. The calendar of almost every country is, as we have observed, filled with a series of anniversaries,—religious or secular,—of festival or abstinence —or instituted for the regulation of business or the operations of the law. In England, independently of those periods of observ­ance which are common to the realm, and written in her calen­dar, there are few districts which are without some festival pecu­liar to themselves ; originating in the grant of some local charter or privilege, the establishment of some local fair, the influence of some ancient local superstition—or some other cause, of which, in many cases, the sole remaining trace is the observance to which it has given rise; and which observance does not always speak in language sufficiently clear to give any account of its parent. Around each of these celebrations has grown up a set
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