WEDDINGS AND FUNERALS
AT weddings wheat was scattered on the head of the bride; scarves, gloves, and ribbons of the bride's colours were presented to the bridesmen; at the church the company carried rosemary; after the ceremony the bride handed the cup around; it contained "sops in wine" hallowed, and was called the knitting cup; afterwards was presented the bride cake, but riot in the church; there was a great feast, as sumptuous as the bride's father could afford; the bride wore her hair on this, her last appearance as a maiden, down her back. She distributed at her wedding, bride laces. At the better houses an epithalamium was pronounced; in the case of rich people there was a masque; in all houses, rich or poor, there was music, there was bride-ale, and there was feasting. There was also fooling of various kinds, with jests not the most seemly, and forms and ceremonies not the most refined, which have long since been abandoned. Even in that time voices were lifted up against the licence of the wedding sports.
Flowers, herbs, and rushes were strewed before the footsteps of the bride on her way to church. It was unlucky if the rain fell upon a wedding, and equally unlucky if the bride failed to weep during the ceremony. The lucky days for weddings were as follows
|Jan. 2, 4, 11, 19, 21.||July 1, 3, 12, 19, 21, 31.|
|Feb. 1, 3, 10, 19, 21.||Aug. 2, 11, 18, 20, 30.|
|March 3, 5, 12, 20, 23.||Sept. 1, 9, 11, 18, 28.|
|April 2, 4, 12, 20, 22.||Oct. 1, 8, 15, 17, 27, 29.|
|May 2, 4, 12, 20, 23.||Nov. 5, 11, 13, 22, 25.|
|June 1, 3, 11, 19, 21.||Dec. 1, 8, 10, 19, 23, 29.|
It was unlucky to have the banns called at the end of one quarter and the marriage at the beginning of the next.
The superstitions, indeed, connected with weddings were innumerable. Let it suffice to quote Herrick in the concluding ceremony:--