BOOK OF CHRISTMAS - online book

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

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speak, in some future volume, of the beautiful customs of that out-of-doors season).                           »
From what we have stated, it appears probable, that the officer who was appointed to preside over the revels so universally ob­served at Christmas time, extended, as a matter of course, his presidency over all those which—either arising out of them, or unconnected therewith,—were performed at more advanced peri­ods of the succeeding year;—that, in fact, the Christmas prince was, without new election, considered as special master' of the revels, till the recurrence of the season. It is not necessary for us to suppose that the whole of the intervals lying between such stated and remote days of celebration were filled up with festival observances; or that our ancestors, under any calenture of the spirits, couldsaim at extending Christmas over the larger portion of the year. It is, however, apparent that, although the common observances of the season were supposed to fall within the period bounded by the days of the Nativity and the Epiphany, the spe­cial pageantries, with a view to which the Lords of Misrule were appointed, in the more exalted quarters, were, in years of high festival, spread over a much more extended time ;—and that their potential dignities were in full force, if not in' full display, from the eve of All-hallows to the close of Candlemas day. It is stated in Drake's " Shakspeare and his Times," that the festivi­ties of the season, which were appointed for at least twelve days, were frequently extended over a space of six weeks:—and our readers know, from their own experience, that even in these our days of less prominent and ceremonial rejoicing, the holiday spirit of the season is by no means to be restrained within the narrower of those limits. The Christmas feeling waits not for Christmas day. The important preparations for so great a festi­val render this impossible. By the avenues of most of the senses the heralds of old Father Christmas have, long before, approached, to awake it from its slumber. Signal notes, which there is no mistaking, have been played on the visual and olfactory organs, for some time past; and the palate itself has had foretastes of that which is about to be. From the day on which his sign has been seen in the heavens, the joyous influences of the star have been felt; and the moment the school-boy arrives at his home, he
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