18th and 19th Century: Historical Custom: The Flitch of Bacon Custom

Historical customs have long existed. For instance, in Scotland there has been a long tradition of wearing kilts, and, the custom continued despite efforts to weaken Scottish support for the restoration of the James II of England by passing the Dress Act of 1746 that forbade “Highland Dress.” Another long-time custom is Lent—forty days of fasting, both from food and festivities—and there is the custom of primogeniture that allows a deceased person’s estate to go to the firstborn male child. However, one of the more unusual, and perhaps less known customs, is a tradition known as the Dunmow flitch of bacon custom.

The Dunmow flitch of bacon custom was “the custom of presenting a flitch of Bacon to any married couple who could swear that neither of them in a twelvemonth and day from their marriage had ever repented of his or her union.” Sometimes the custom was referred to as the “Dunmow Flitch Trials” partly because it was practiced at the Priory of Dunmow in Essex supposedly since the “days of yore,” although one British historian reports it was actually…

Source: 18th and 19th Century: Historical Custom: The Flitch of Bacon Custom

Twelfth Night: confectionery and customs

Notes from 19th Century Birmingham

Twelfth001 Mary Clitheroe’s Twelfth Night party by “Phiz”

In recent times Twelfth Night has become the traditional time for taking down the Christmas tree, although there is now some dispute over whether the occasion should fall on the 5th or the 6th of January. A celebration dating back to the Middle Ages, during the nineteenth century it was one of the most popular of the Christmas holiday celebrations.

A detailed explanation of the origins and customs of the occasion was presented in a two column article in Birmingham’s Daily Post, January 6th, 1871, opening with a vivid description of an expected street scene:

This evening, if it happens to be tolerably fine, there will be a crowd at every confectioner’s window, admiring those indigestible dainties – the Twelfth Cakes; resplendent in all the colours of the rainbow, adorned with a multiplicity of grotesque ornaments and figures reposing amidst flowers, fruits and…

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