söndag 5 januari 2014

På julens tolfte dag

sitter jag här med en bok jag läst under helgen, och som till min förvåning berörde mig mycket: "A Childhood at Green Hedges" av Imogen Smallwood, Enid Blytons yngsta dotter. Jag har ägnat rätt mycket tid åt Enid Blyton på sistone, och kommer att återkomma till henne — bara jag kan räkna ut, hur jag ska kunna begränsa mig, för det finns mycket att säga om både henne och hennes böcker.
Den här boken är slut på förlaget, men en väninna i England lyckades få tag på den åt mig. För den intresserade blir det till att söka på nätet.

Jag rekommenderar "The Book of Christmasby Thomas K. Hervey


6th January.
Twelfth-day (so called from its being the twelfth after Christmas Day) is that on which the festival of the Epiphany is held. This feast of the Christian Church was instituted, according to Picart, in the fourth century, to commemorate the manifestation of our Saviour to the Gentiles; and the name Epiphany (
), which signifies an appearance from above, was given to it in allusion to the star described in Holy writ, as the guide of the Magi or Wise Men to the cradle of the Blessed Infant. "In Italy," says Mr. Leigh Hunt, "the word has been corrupted into Beffania or Beffana, as in England it used to be called Piffany; and Beffana in some parts of that country has come to mean an old fairy or Mother Bunch, whose figure is carried about the streets, and who rewards or punishes children at night, by putting sweetmeats or stones and dirt into a stocking hung up for the purpose, near the bed's head. The word 'Beffa,' taken from this, familiarly means a trick or mockery put upon any one; to such base uses may come the most splendid terms!" But what is quite as extraordinary as that the primitive signification of a word not familiarly understood should, amid the revolutions of centuries, be lost in a different or distorted into an inferior meaning, is the preservation in popular rites of trivial details, which, as we have before stated, conclusively identify many of the practices of our modern Christian festivals as echoes of ancient pagan observances. Of this, Twelfth-day presents a remarkable instance.

_ _ _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!—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 entreatries 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 clodpole receives the titbit 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. 

4 kommentarer:

  1. Men kära nån, nu borde jag alltså vara på landet i stället och dricka cider tillsammans med något av äppelträden!
    Ser fram mot Blyton-rapport.

    1. Karin,
      Du kan kanske få telepatisk kontakt med dina äppelträd, medan du inta'r din cider.
      Oj, då måste jag börja tänka på Enid på allvar.

  2. För att härska över människors liv och sinnen har makthavare ju ofta förvandlat " hedniska" riter och högtider att passa dem själva. Inte alla blev så perfekta som att göra Lucifer till Lucia, en utmärkt ordlek, om inte annat. Litet kul att jul fick förbli jul hos oss och inte nåt med krist.

    1. Olgakatt,
      Är det inte så, att vi människor vrider till det mesta, vad det än handlar om, så att det ska passa våra intressen.