Tag Archives: festivities
marionette

marionette

  The Entombment of Christ (1610) by Sisto Badalocchio     MEANINGS   A marionette is a puppet worked by strings, and, figuratively, a person who is easily manipulated or controlled.     ORIGIN   This word dates from the mid-17th century. It is from the French feminine noun marionnette (with a double -n-), probably composed […]

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Boxing Day

Boxing Day

  Boxing Day, December 1836 – from George Cruikshank’s Comic Almanack (larger picture at the end of this article)       MEANING    Boxing Day is a public holiday celebrated on the first day (strictly, the first weekday) after Christmas Day.     ORIGIN   A Christmas-box was a box, usually of earthenware, in […]

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Cockaigne

Cockaigne

  Het Luilekkerland (1567) by Pieter Brueghel the Elder (1525-69)     Cockaigne is the name of an imaginary land of easy and luxurious living. The word seems to have first appeared in the Latin compositions of the Goliards, who were wandering students and clerics in England, France, and Germany, chiefly in the 12th and […]

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cricket

cricket

  The evolution of the cricket bat (The first cricket bat looked like a hockey stick) source: World Cricket Watch     The French ‘jeu de la crosse’ – 18th century The English game of cricket – 18th century       ♦ The name of the insect related to the grasshoppers dates back to the […]

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mum’s the word

mum’s the word

    Be like Dad – Keep Mum! Careless talk costs lives! a 1940-42 British poster (source: East Carolina University - http://digital.lib.ecu.edu/10976)           To keep mum is to remain silent, especially so as not to reveal a secret. And mum’s the word, as a request or warning, means say nothing; do not […]

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Maundy

Maundy

    silver Maundy coins The effigy of the Queen on ordinary circulating coinage has undergone four changes, but Maundy coins still bear the same portrait of Her Majesty prepared by Mary Gillick for the first coins issued in the year of her coronation in 1953.     Maundy was originally the ceremony of washing […]

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simnel cake

simnel cake

          Mothering Sunday is Mid-Lent Sunday (i.e. the fourth Sunday of Lent). It was also known as Refreshment Sunday because the fasting rules for Lent were relaxed that day.   The food item specially associated with Mothering Sunday is the simnel cake – and Mothering Sunday was also sometimes called Simnel […]

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