The Hymns and Carols of Christmas


William Hone, The Every Day Book, 2 Vols. London: William Tegg, 1825, 1827.

Volume 1 - November 28

This term denotes the coming of the Saviour. In ecclesiastical language it is the denomination of the four weeks preceding the celebration of his birthday. In the Romish church this season of preparation for Christmas is a time of penance and devotion. It consists of four weeks, or at least four Sundays, which commence from the Sunday nearest to St. Andrew's day, whether before or after it: anciently it was kept as a rigorous fast.*

In the church of England it commences at the same period. In 1825, St. Andrew's day being a fixed festival on the 30th of November, and happening on a Wednesday, the nearest Sunday to it, being the 27th of November, was the first Sunday in Advent; in 1826, St. Andrew's day happening on a Thursday, the nearest Sunday to it is on the 3d of December, and, therefore, the first Sunday in Advent.

Hone's Note:

* Butler On The Fasts

Volume 1 - December 4

Ancient Divinations in Advent.

From the following lines of Barnaby Googe, it appears that rustic young girls in ancient times, indulged at this season in attempting to divine the name of the man they wore to marry, from forcing the growth of onions in the chimney-corner, and that they ascertained the temper of the good man, from the straitness or crookedness of a faggot-stick drawn from a woodstack. Advent seems likewise to have been a time wherein the young ones went about and levied contributions.

Three weekes before the day whereon
    was borne the Lords of Grace,
And on the Thursday boys and girles
    do runne in every place,
And bounce and beate at every doore,
    with blowes and lustie snaps,
And erie, the advent of the Lord
    not borne as yet perhaps.
And wishing to the neighbours all,
    that in the houses dwell,
A happie yeare, and every thing
    to spring and prosper well
Here have they peaces, and plumbs, and pence,
    each man gives willinglee,
For these thres nightes are always thought
    unfortunate to bee:
Wherein they are afrayde of spnites,
    and cankred witches spight,
And dreadfull devils blacke and grim,
    that then have chiefest might.
In these same dayes yang wantnn gyiles
    that meets for marriage bee,
Doe search to know the names of them
    that shall their husbands bee.
Fours anyone, five, or eight, they take
    and make in every one,
Such names as they do fansie most,
    and best do thinke upon.
Thus neere the chimney them they set,
    and that same onyon than,
That first doth sprouts, doth surely beare
    the name of their good man.
Their husbandes nature eke they scekc
    to know, and all his guise,
When as the snnne hatb hid himselfe,
    and left the starrie skies,
Unto some woodstaeke do they go,
    and while they there do stande
Eche one drawes out a faggot sticke,
    the next that commes to handy,
Which if it streight aimd even be,
    and have no knots at all,
A gentle husband then they thinke
    shall surely to them fall.
But if it fowle and crooked be,
    and knottie here and theare,
A crabbed churlish husband then,
    they earnestly do feare.
These thinges the wicked papistes besre,
    and suffer willingly,
Because they neyther do the ende,
    nor fruites of faith espie
And rather had the people should
    obey their foolish lust,
Than truely God to know; and in
    him here alone to trust.

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