The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Handsel Monday

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

Volume 1

The first Monday after new year's day is called Handsel Monday in some parts of Scotland, and is observed by merry-making. In sir J. Sinclair's “Statistical Account,” it is related of one William Hunter, a collier, that he was cured in the year 1758 of an inveterate rheumatism or gout, by drinking freely of new ale, full of barm or yeast. “The poor man had been confined to his bed for a year and a half, having almost entirely lost the use of his limbs. On the evening of Handsel Monday, as it is called, some of his neighbours came to make merry with him. Though he could not rise, yet he always took his share of the ale, as it passed round the company; and, in the end, became much intoxicated. The consequence was, that he had the use of his limbs the next morning, and was able to walk about. He lived more than twenty years after this, and never had the smallest returned of his old complaint.” This is a fact worth remembering, as connected with chronical complaints.

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