BOOK OF CHRISTMAS - online book

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

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ST. THOMAS'S DAY.                                    15"
country :—in which version, as might be expected, the Champion­ship is given to St. Patrick, who asserts that St. George was nothing more than " St. Patrick's boy," and fed his horses. An­other of the characters in this edition of the story is Oliver Crom­well,—who, after certain grandiloquent boastings (amongst others, that he had " conquered many notions with his copper nose"), calls upon no less a personage than Beelzebub, to step in, and confirm his assertions.
The costume and accoutrements of these mummers appear to be pretty generally of the same kind,—and, for the most part, to resemble those of morris-dancers. They are thus correctly de­scribed by Mr. Sandys. St. George, and the other tragic per­formers, wear " white trowsers and waistcoats, showing their shirt-sleeves, and are much decorated with ribbons and handker­chiefs,—each carrying a drawn sword in his hand, if they can be procured, otherwise a cudgel. They wear high caps of paste­board, covered with fancy paper, adorned with beads, small pieces of looking-glass, bugles, &c,—several long strips of pith gene­rally hanging down from the top, with shreds of different colored cloth strung on them,—the whole having a fanciful and smart effect. The Turk, sometimes, has a turban. Father Christmas is personified as a grotesque old man, wearing a large mask and wig, with a huge club in his hand. The doctor,—who is a sort of merry-andrew to the piece,—is dressed in some ridiculous way, with a three-cornered hat and painted face. The female, when there is one, is in the costume of her great-grandmother. The hobby-horse, when introduced, has a sort of representation of a horse's hide; but the dragon and the giant, when there is one, frequently appear with the same style of dress as the knights."
We will present our readers with the version of this old drama given by Mr. Sandys, as still performed in Cornwall. Elsewhere, we have met with some slight variations upon even this Cornwall piece; but will be content to print it, as we find it in the collec­tion in question. Our Lancashire readers will at once recognize its close resemblance to the play performed in that county, about the time of Easter, by the Peace-eggers, or Paste-eggers—of whom we shall speak, in their proper place, in a future volume.—
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