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December 08, 1957 - Image 9

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1957-12-08

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SUNDAY, DECEMBER 8, 1957 THE MICHIGAN DAILY

ANCIENT TRADITION:

Flight Problems Cause Train Rush

England Begins Custom
Of Boar's Head Dinner

r-

By SALLEY ABEL

In mediaeval England it was
customary to begin all great
Christmas feasts with the solemn
ceremony of bringing in the boar's
head as the initial dish.
This custom has been carried
over to the United States and is
practiced at the University. Helen
Newberry has a boar's head din--
ner and procession every year.
In England, the original cere-
mony began as the master-cook,
preceded, by trumpeters and other
musicians and followed by hunts-
men with boar-spears and pages
carrying mustard, bore the smok-
ing head aloft on a silver platter.
This platter was deposited at the
head of the table.
Head Garnished
The bead was garnished with
rosemary and laurel and a lemon
placed between its chops.
The custom goes back to the
pre-Christian days. The Druids
killed a boar during the winter,
and offered its head in sacrifice
to Freya, the goddess of peace and
plenty. She was supposed to ride
upon a boar with golden bristles.
+ The lemon in the boar's mouth
was a Norse symbol of plenty..An
orange or an apple was sometimes
substituted. The common practice
in England of eating the suckling
pig at 'Christmas has the same
origin.'
Ceremony Attached
The bringing in of the boar's
head. is performed with all the
ancient ceremony. Every diner
rises and chants the Boar's Song,
which has been sung for centuries.
The words are set to the common
chant of the prose version of the
psalms in cathedrals.
Queen's College, Oxford, is fa-
mous for its retention of the
Boar's Head ceremonial. There is
a local legend to explain the in-
stitution of the ceremony. About
five hundred years ago, a stu-
dent of the college wandering near
Shotong Hill in deep study of
Aristotle was attacked by a wild
boar. Since he had no other means
of defense he shoved the book
' down the animal's throat, ex-
claiming, "Graecum est." The sage
choked the savage and his head
was brought home in triumph by
the student.
A paragraph quoted by Thisel-
ton Dryer from the "Daily News"
of January 5, 1852 shoWs that the
custom still survived at that date.,
Wrestle for Head
"By ancient charter or usage in
Horn Church a boar's head is
wrestled for in a field adjoining
the church, a boar, the property
of the p a r i s h, having been
slaughtered for the purpose. The
boar's head, elevated. on 'a pail

and decorated with ribbons, was
brought into the ring when the
competitors entered and the prize
was awarded."
According to Charles Lynch, an
active member of the Episcopal
Church, Canterbury House has
had many successful boar's head
ceremonies. He said that the pro-
ession is an outright satire on the
church itself. The procession con-
sists of a group of mad monks,
mad nuns, priests, deacons, and
bishops dressed in outlandish cos-
tumes.
For example, last year the
priests of Canterbury House
dressed in bermuda shorts with a
lace curtain on their shoulders.
Their bishop held a pastoral staff
composed of hot dogs and candy
canes.
Ancient Ritual
The burning of the Yule-log was
an ancienthChristmas ceremony. It
has been handed' down from the
Scandinavians, who, at their feast
of Jul, used to kindle huge bon-
fires in honor of their god Thor.
The English ceremony of bring-
ing in and lburning the Yule-log
on Christmas Eve was full of pic-
turesque details. The log, a mas-
sive piece of wood, was usually
part of an oak. It was drawn in
triumph from its resting place
amid shouts of laughter from the
crowd.
As it entered the hall, the min-
strels hailed the yule-log with
song and music. Inthe absence of
minstrels, each member of the
family sat upon it in turn and
sang a Yule song. Meanwhile Yule
doughnuts were eaten and washed
down with tankards of spiced ale.
Play Yule Games
Yule games, such as "Dun in
the Mire" were played. In this
game the Yule stock was drawn
into the middle of the floor. There,
two of the group try to disentangle
it. After many tries, they called
for help. Finally, everyone present
was mixed up in the horseplay.
When this amusement was fin-
ished; the log was kindled to cheer
up the hearts of the revellers and
to defy the cold. The firing was to
be accomplished, according to tra-
dition, from a portion of the
charred Yule block preserved from-
the preceding Christmas.
It was believed that the pre-
servation of last year's log was an
effectual security to the house
against fire.
A monstrous candle, the Yule
candle, was lighted during the
evening. Brand, in his "Popular
Antiquitus" states that in the but-
tery of St. Johns College, Oxford,
an ancient candle-socket of stone
still remains. It is ornamented
with the figure of the Holy Lamb.

VACATION TIME-With the end of classes, students engage in the annual Yuletide rush to go
home for the holidays. Bags are hurriedly packed, a book or two may be included, and the
rush to get a seat begins. Some students will check their bags or get a reserved seat, but the
majority will push and shove with their suitcases to get to a seat before their fellow students can.

When Michigan students say,
"I'll be home for Christmas," they
usually mean New York - at least
it seems that way to the clerks in
two travel agencies in Ann Arbor.
The agencies report that they
book the greatest majority of pas-
sengers on New York flights, some
to Chicago, and "only a few" to
Florida, Bermuda and other va-
cationlands.
"Most students wait until spring
vacation to visit Florida," one
agent commented. "However, one
or two students have made reser-
vations for a Mexico flight and
one family is even going to Puerto
Rico."
Santa Claims
Many TNqames
Through Ages
Old Santa Claus is spry indeed,
considering that he has been kick-
ing around for centuries now.
In Lycia, Asia Minor, the orig-
inal St. Nicholas was the bishop
of Myra. He is said to have ridden
the streets on a white donkey, dis-
tributing gifts to the people of
Lycia. From this our custom of ex-
changing gifts is believed to have
arisen.
The" legend of St. Nicholas
spread across Europe. In Britain,
France and Russia he was known
as Father Christmas, and in many
countries of Europe he punished
the bad children as well as re-
warded the good.
Dutch settlers brought their
Sinterklaus with them when they
came to New York, and from this
personage came our modern Santa.

1i

IL

SANTA
SUGGESTS
Robe
FOR CHRISTMAS
Quilted styles in nylon and cotton
corduroy, flannel and nylon, brush
nylon, and silk can be found in many
different colors. Also, nylon travel robes
would make a nice gift. Sizes are from
10 to 20 in most styles; 14% to 22%2mz
in nylon quilted. Prices are
- $1095 $to95

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