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Persia Sir J. R. Porter relates that in allusion to the mundane egg,
for which Ahriman and Ormuzd maintain their eternal quarrel, eggs are given at the feast of Nooroose or waters, during six days, which correspond in point of time with our own Easter. In the Greek church in London the priest after mass may be seen distributing the coloured eggs, which have been brought into the nave piled up in baskets. A ritual of Paul II, issued for the use of England, Scotland, and Ireland, contains a form of benediction of eggs which were supplied by the heads of families, and sent to their respective churches. In the valleys of the Tyrol, musicians, with their broad-brimmed hats wreathed with flowers, commence at Easter-eve to sing the hymn of the season to their guitars, surrounded by troops of children, who carry torches of pine wood, and receive from the villagers in return dyed Paschal eggs. At Gray's Inn, in Queen Elizabeth's time, the lawyers were served with “Eggs and green sauce.” At Coleshill there was an old custom, that if the young men of the parish could catch a hare on Easter morning before ten o'clock, the parson had to give them a calf's head, 100 eggs, and a groat in money. Tansey pudding-in memory of the bitter herbs eaten by the Jews, according to Selden—was eaten at Easter; but to show that they were good Christians, the banqueters added a gammon of bacon to this sour fare.
Witty South alludes to the gala dress prevalent at Easter, and Bishop Andrews alludes to the same topic and the peculiar fare of the festival. Becon the Reformer, in his quaint dialogue, “ The Colation for Lent,” pleasantly represents one of the speakers asking, “why the images and all other things that were before hid, are made open
in the temple restored to their old beauty ?" Philemon replies, “Nothing else but that after Christ had once suffered the Passion for our sins, and was risen again from death unto life for our justification, all clouds and shadows were taken away, all ceremonies and sacrifices of the old ceased, all joy, all mirth, all felicity, all pleasure, all liberty, and all that ever we lost before in Adam, is now recovered again by Christ. In token of this our wealth and joyes the temple on Easter-day is most preciously adorned.” On Easter-day at University College, Oxford, the fellows, on leaving hall, chop with a hatchet at a huge block of wood, which is provided by the master-cook for the occasion, probably in allusion to the “accursed tree.”
At Carlisle the children prepare for Easter Monday and Tuesday hard boiled eggs, dyed with log-wood, “whin-bloom," and cochineal, or stained by boiling with shreds of parti-coloured ribbons, and often gilt, which they roll about the meadows till they break, and then they eat them; their local name is still the Pace (a corruption of Pasch) eggs. The custom prevails through many of the northern counties. At Twickenham two great cakes were divided among the young folks
in church, but owing to Puritan objections made in 1645, they were exchanged for loaves, which, as at Paddington, were thrown down from the church steeple to the poor below. In some parts of Devon and Dorset the parish clerk still carries round to every house a few white cakes, partly bitter and partly sweet, on Good Friday, and receives a gratuity after church on Easter-day. At Biddenden, in Kent, a distribution of cakes was made on Easter-morning, with loaves and cheese, from the proceeds of certain lands which, according to local tradition, were bequeathed for the purpose by two maiden ladies of the name of Preston, who were united in the too intimate relation of “Siamese twins," and whose effigies were impressed on the cakes. The Norman and early Plantagenet kings used to keep their Easter crowned in various cities, at the expense of the townspeople or monks. In Spain the villagers elected an Easter king. In Salop,
North Wales, Cheshire, Lancashire, Warwickshire, and Staffordshire, the old practice of lifting is still preserved; the men lifting the women on the Monday, and the women retorting on the Tuesday in Easter week. In the “Public Advertiser" of April 13, 1787, a Mr. Thomas Loggan of Basinghall, is recorded to have been compelled to submit to this fate in the Talbot Inn at Shrewsbury, and querulously complained that he had to pay a fee for the compliment. In 1852, a gentleman at the Railway Inn, Crewe, was hoisted in a chair three times by the women servants, and kissed by them in succession; but the last destroyed the charm, being an unctuous kitchen wench." Even Edward I., “ being taken in his bed," had to pay his fee, equal to about £400, for a similar ceremonial, but in his case it was agreeable. More recently a grave divine was compelled to compound with his pretty tormentors at an inn in Lancashire for an evasion of the forfeit. The custom, no doubt, was suggested by the ceremonial of raising the Cross out of the Sepulchre on Easter-eve in church. At Durham on Easter Monday the men take off the women's shoes; in Yorkshire the women's buckles : on the following day the womon retaliate. Durandus relates that in France the wives beat their husbands, and the husbands their wives alternately on those days. Queen Philippa being at Durham, a guest in the prior's lodgings, was compelled to leave her bed at dead of night by the indignant monks, as St. Cuthbert had, like St. Sesenus, an undying aversion to the presence of the fair sex within the precincts of his monastery. In the reign of Henry II., according to FitzStephen, the young Londoners maintained a sort of quintain on the Thames in boats, tilting at a shield which was fixed on a stationary post, or at an opponent with staves and shields, standing in two wherries which were rowed one against the other. The unhappy prentice who missed his stroke was thrown off his balance into the water to the intense amusement of the thousand spectators who lined the solitary bridge and crowded on the numberless wharves and river-side houses along the banks. At Newcastle, on the meadow called the “Firth," and at Bury St. Edmund's the corporation used to indulge in foot-ball playing; in the monasteries of France prelates and archbishops amused themselves in a similar game with monks ; and with a most indecorous levity, with deans, canons, and choristers, bandied about the ball sing. ing an antiphon to the music of the organ, in the very choir :-50 say Ducange and Du Freyne.
The sheriffs of Chester, after the year 1511, used to shoot for a breakfast annually, on Easter Monday, called Black Monday, so named from the remarkably dark and inclement weather which happened on that day, when King Edward III. lay with his army before Paris, and which proved fatal to many of his troops. “ The two sheriffs," so runs an old manuscript, “ do shoot for a breakfast of calves' head and bacon, commonly called the Sheriffs' Breakfast. The day before, the drum soundeth through the city, with a proclamation for all gentlemen, yeomen, and good fellows, that will come with bows and arrows, to take part with one sheriff or the other; and upon Monday morning, on the Rood-Eye, the mayor, sheriff's, aldermen, and any other gentlemen that will be there the one sheriff choosing one, and the other
choosing another, and so of the archers. Then one sheriff shooteth, and another sheriff shooteth, to shode him, being at length some twelve score; so all the archers on one side to shoot till it be shode, and so till three shots be won, and then all the winners' side go up together, first, with arrows in their hands, and all the losers with bows in their hands, together, to the Common Hall of the city, where the mayor, aldermen, and gentlemen, and the rest, take part together of the said breakfast in loving manner. This is gladly done, being a commendable exercise, a good recreation, and a loving assemblage.” In 16-10, the sheriffs substituted a plate for the breakfast, but were fined for their omission to keep the feast in 1676; the breakfast, however, has now lapsed, and an annual dinner is given in lieu of it.
Greenwich Fair, with all its vulgarity and coarseness, "the rolling down hill,” and boisterous games, has happily fallen into disrepute. Easter Monday is still an occasion for a grand banquet, given by the Lord Mayor. A century since, attended by the sheriff, he went through the streets to “collect charity for the prisoners in the city jails according to custom," on Easter-eve; on the Monday he attended, with all the aldermen, at St. Bride's Church, to hear the “ 'Spital," a hospital sermon, to which all the charity children of London went in procession. The splendid Easter entertainment took its origin in the friendly little family parties, and invitations for dining to the governors, which followed the business of the day.
At EASTER OFFERINGS are made to the clergyman. On Midlent Sunday the parishioners used to go a-mothering, that is, visit the mother church and make offerings at the various altars; the priests afterwards compounded for these at a certain sum, and the voluntary donation became the Easter offering. So early as the year 533, the Council of Auvergne required rural priests to celebrate the feasts of Christmas, Easter, and Whitsuntide with their bishop in the city. Confessions were enjoined at Easter, and communion, under pain of excommunication, by the Councils of Gloucester, 1378, c. IV., and Paris, 1429. All lay persons were required by the Council of Agde, 506, c. XVIII., to communicate at Easter; and forbidden to communicato then except in their parish churches, by the Council of Cologne, 1310. The administration of baptism was confined to the seasons of Easter and Whitsuntide by the Councils of Rome, 400, c. VII., Winchester, 1071, c. VII., Reading, 1279, c. III., IV., and Geneva, 517, c. IV.; it was enjoined on Easter-eve, by the Councils of London, 1237, c. III., Mayence, 585 c. III., and a priest was permitted to say two masses at Easter, by the Council of Oxford, 1222, c. VII. Lyndwood says that every parishioner is bound to communicate at Easter, which was one of the three seasons appointed by the Council of Agde, in 506, Canute's Laws Eccles. 1017, c. IX., and the Canons of Eanham, 1009 c. XX., and by P. Calixtus. The parishioners from an early period made personal oblations towards the provision of the elements, in kind or in money, and this custom, coupled with the large influx of persons at this season, was doubtless the origin of the so-called Easter offerings. In many places the payo ment amounted to twopence or fourpence a head for every inhabitant above the
of sixteen years; or fourpence for the master of the house, and a halfpenny for each child and servant; the customary payments of time immemorial, which constituted the church's chief revenues, were required by Statute 2 and 3 Edw. VI. c. 13, to be made on any of the four offering days of the year, Christmas, Easter, Pentecost, and the Dedication of the Church, or in default, on the Easter following; and by the rubric of the Church of England, every parishioner at Easter is to pay "all ecclesiastical duties customably due." It has been supposed also that they are commutations for personal tithes, as both were payments by custom, and not due of common right. They are recoverable as small tithes by 7 and 8 Will. III., c. 6, and later acts.
Turning to contrast the various modes of keeping Easter, we first turn to the mother of all churches at Jerusalem. On the evening of Good Friday, in the chapel of the Latin Convent, the image of the Crucified is taken down from the cross and wrapped in a clean linen cloth, and carried in procession by priests bearing long candles from Calvary to the stone of unction; it is there washed and anointed and prepared for burial, and carried into the sepulchre. On Easter morning the courtyard before the Church of the Holy Sepulchre is crowded with swarming vendors of amulets, crucifixes, and sacred ornaments; and within the building itself are tables laid out with oranges, dates, figs, and other fruits. Arab bakers, with trays of bread on their heads, cry their wares; and near each altar are temporary shops for the sale of chaplets and wreaths of palm leaves. While the Latins are celebrating High Mass before the sepulchre, all along the corridors the Greeks are arranging their procession and distributing banners, in the midst of the utmost confusion. At length an cnormous standard is erected in front of the door of the sepulchre, and the pilgrims rush forward to prostrate themselves before it, and to touch it with their branches of palm. Slowly, with the sound of chanting, and preceded by Turkish officers clearing the way, the procession advances -the priests forming it robed in their richest vestments, their mitres and caps blazing with jewels, while in their hands they carry aloft sacred banners, and attendants sprinkle holy water on the upturned faces of the heaving crowd. The crush is terrific. Each one is striving to touch the great banner, or to receive the drops of consecrated water; many persons are trodden down, and not unfrequently several are trampled to death, while the air grows contaminated by the exhalations from the bodies of the thousands who crowd the church, until respiration becomes difficult, and swoons frequently ensue, and faintness like