By Jacqueline Simpson
With 1250 entries starting from dragons to mom Goose, could Day to Michaelmas, this enthralling dictionary unfurls the colourful historical past at the back of the vacations, customs, legends, and superstitious ideals of britain. Ever ask yourself why we kiss less than the mistletoe at Christmas or imagine a rabbit's foot brings reliable success? folklore professionals offer trustworthy and infrequently impressive solutions to those and different curiosities that experience formed way of life in England for hundreds of years. They discover the fairs and earlier celebrations of the English calendar, from St. Andrews Day and its culture of drunkenness and cross-dressing to 12th evening and its king and queen cake. in addition they supply concise photos of actual and mythical characters that populate the general public reminiscence, together with Robin Hood, The Brothers Grimm, girl Godiva, Puck, and The Sandman. Fairies, mermaids, hobgoblins, and changelings are yet a number of the supernatural forces surveyed right here. despite the fact that, as folklore encompasses the mundane in addition to the glorious, a variety of different entries light up the importance of colours, numbers, plants, animals, and loved ones items. examine the curious background in the back of our mistrust of the "black sheep," well known credence in "wishbone" needs, folks remedies for nosebleeds and warts, and chronic outdated other halves' stories. as well as historical and medieval folklore, you can find many modern city legends, e.g., the vanishing hitchhiker--a spooky determine noticeable ominously by means of tourists in Britain and the United States--and the the teeth Fairy. An interesting source, The Dictionary of English Folklore should be a desirable spouse for readers of English literature, historical past, cultural experiences, and fable.
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Additional info for A Dictionary of English Folklore
Bawming’ means decorating, and the thorn in question is in the centre of the Cheshire village of Appleton. The tree is duly adorned in late June or early July with ribbons, garlands, ﬂags, and so on, nowadays mainly by local children, who also process and sing, but previously by the villagers en masse. Successive revivals and changes have seen the custom tamed. The present tree dates from 1967 when it was planted to replace a predecessor which had been blown down. Unsubstantiated tradition maintains that the ﬁrst tree on the site was a cutting from the famous *Holy Thorn at *Glastonbury.
Bear-baiting was just as popular but less common. In its heyday, it had attracted royal support, and had reputedly been introduced to England, from Italy, in the 12th century, and to have been ﬁrst seen in this country at Ashby-de-la-Zouche in Leicestershire. 1183: ‘. . 1180: 58). 1340, from the Bodleian Library, is given by Armitage. In urban areas, blood sports were indeed big business. Institutions like the Bear Garden at Bankside, Southwark, were famous for their spectacles, and its successor at Hockley-in-theHole, Clerkenwell, became a popular byword for animal sports.
Bones ‘Nearly every old house had its boggart which played ill-natured tricks on the inhabitants. Singly or in packs they haunted streets and roads, and the arch-boggarts held revels at every three-road-end’ (Harland and Wilkinson, 1867: 49). The word is still used for a mischievous ghost. In some tales, the boggart is attatched to a particular house or family, like a *brownie, but as a nuisance rather than a helper. The most frequent anecdote on this theme is a humorous one, found in several collections from northern counties, and also in Lincolnshire and Shropshire.
A Dictionary of English Folklore by Jacqueline Simpson