The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

The Christmas Candle

At St. John's College, Oxford

Source: Brand's Popular Antiquities Of Great Britain

W. Carew Hazlitt, Faith and Folklore: A Dictionary of National Beliefs, Superstitions and Popular Customs, Past and Current, With Their Classical and Foreign Analogues, Described and Illustrated.

Forming A New Edition of "The Popular Antiquities of Great Britain" By Brand and Ellis, Largely Extended, Corrected, Brought Down To The Present Time, and Now First Alphabetically Arranged.

In Two Volumes

London: Reeves and Turner, 1905.

Vol. 1, p. 117

This candle, and the socket, which was still preserved in the Buttery, in 1813, used formerly to be burned at Christmas in an ancient stone socket, upon which was engraved a figure of the Holy Lamb. It was in use during the twelev [Sic.] days of Christmas, and stood on the public supper board.

It was not, however, peculiar to St. John's. In the "Country Farmer's Catechism," 1703, occurs this passage: "She ne'er has no fits, nor uses no cold tea, as the 'Ladies Catechism' says, but keeps her body in health with working all the week, and goes to church on Sundays: my daughter don't look with sickly pale looks, like an unfit Christmas candle; they don't eat oatmeal, lime, or ashes, for pain at their stomachs; they don't ride on the fellows backs before they are twelve years old, nor lie on their own before they are fifteen, but look as fresh as new blown roses, with their daily exercise and stay still they are fit for husbands before they have them."

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