BOOK OF CHRISTMAS - online book

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

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TWELFTH DAY AND NIGHT.                             211
superstitions used in the cider districts of England. A pleasant custom of this kind is mentioned in the Gentleman's Magazine for 1791, as existing in certain parts of Devonshire. It is there stated, that " the farmer, attended by his workmen, with a large pitcher of cider, goes to the orchard-on this evening ; and there, encircling one of the best bearing trees, they drink the following toast three times :—
" Here's to thee, old apple tree ! Whence thou mayst bud,.and whence thou mayst blow '. And whence thou mayst bear apples enow !
Hats full! caps full!
Bushel, bushel-sacks full! And my pockets full too i—Huzza !"
This done, they return to the house, the doors of which they are sure to find bolted by the females; who, be the weather what it may, are inexorable to all entreaties to open them, till some one has guessed at what is on the spit,—which is generally some nice little thing difficult to be hit on, and is the reward of him who first names it. The doors are then thrown open ; and the lucky clod-pole receives the tit-bit, as a recompense. Some,*' it is added, " are so superstitious as to believe that, if they neglect this custom, the trees will bear no apples that year."
" Health to thee, good apple tree'! Well to bear, pockets-full, hats-full, Pecks-full, bushel-bags-full,"—
is another version of the address used on these occasions, pre­served by Brand. We find recorded, in one quarter or another, a variety of analogous and other customs, observed, in different parts of England, on this vigil :—but our diminishing space will not permit us to enter upon a description of them.
During the entire twelve months, there is no such illumination of pastry-cooks' shops, as on Twelfth-night. Each sends forth a blaze of light; and is filled with glorious cakes,—" decorated," to use the words of Mr. Hone, " with all imaginable images of things animate and inanimate. Stars, castles, kings, cottages, dragons, trees, fish, palaces, cats, dogs, churches, lions, milk-
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