BOOK OF CHRISTMAS - online book

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

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98
THE BOOK OF CHRISTMAS.
rived from the opposition of their adversaries;—and the latter having pronounced the mince-pie to be an abomination, the eating thereof was immediately established as a test of orthodoxy by the former. Sandys mentions that, even when distressed for a com­fortable meal, they would refuse to partake of this very tempting dish, when set before them,—and mentions John Bunyan, when in confinement, as an example. He recommends that, under such extreme circumstances, they should be eaten with a protest, as might be done by a lawyer, in a similar case.
In a struggle like this, however, it is clear that the advocates of mince-pie were likely to have the best of it,—through the pow­erful auxiliary derived to their cause, from the savoriness of the dish itself. The legend of the origin of eating roast-pig, which we have on the authority of Charles Lamb, exhibits the rapid spread of that practice, against the sense of its abomination, on the strength of the irresistible appeals made to the palate by the crackling. And, accordingly, in the case of mince-pie, we find that the delicious compound has come down to our days (stripped of its objectionable forms and more mystic meanings, from the moment when they ceased to be topics of disputation)—and is freely partaken of by the most rigid presbyterian—who raises " no question " thereon, " for conscience sake."
It may be observed, however, that relics of the more recondite virtues ascribed to this dish, by the Catholics, in the days of its sectarian persecution, still exist—in the superstitions which attach certain privileges and promises to its consumption. In some places the form of this superstition, we believe, is, that for every house in which a mince-pie shall be eaten, at the Christmas sea­son, the eater shall enjoy a happy month in the coming year. As, however, this version would limit the consumption (as far as any future befit is attached to it), to the insufficient number of twelve, we greatly prefer an edition of the same belief which we have met with elsewhere,—and which promises a happy day for every individual pie eaten, during the same period ; thereby giv­ing a man a direct and prospective interest in the consumption of as large a number out of three hundred and sixty-five, as may happen to agree with his inclination.
Leaving, however, those proceedings which are going on within
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