The Traditional Children's Games of England Scotland
& Ireland In Dictionary Form - Volume 2

With Tunes(sheet music), Singing-rhymes(lyrics), Methods Of Playing with diagrams and illustrations.

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In " Isabella" (vol. i. pp. 247-56) the actions indicate a more modern marriage ceremony. The young couple, after choosing, go to church, clasp hands, put on ring, kneel down, say prayers, kiss, and eat dinner. The clasping of hands, putting on a ring, and kissing are more like a solemn betrothal before a marriage ceremony.
In the other marriage games which show remains of a ceremony are those of the kind to which "All the Boys" belongs (vol. i. pp. 2-6). In this game, customs which belong to a rough and rude state of society are indicated. The statement is made that a man cannot be happy without a wife. He u huddles " and " cuddles " the girl, and " puts her on his knee."
The principal thing here to be noted is the mention in all versions of this game the fact that some food is prepared by the bride, which she gives to the bridegroom to eat. This, although called a " pudding," refers, of course, to the bridal cake, and to the old custom of the bride preparing it herself, and giving some to her husband first.
Other rhymes of this kind, belonging, probably, to the same game, are " Down in the Valley," " Mary mixed a Pudding," " Oliver, Oliver, follow the King," M Down in Yonder Meadow." In all these the making and eating of a particular " pudding " or food is mentioned as an important item; in two, catching and kissing the sweetheart is mentioned ; and in all, "courting" and " cuddling"; articles for domestic use are said to be bought by the bride. The formal ceremony of marriage is contained in the verbal contract of the two parties, and the important ceremony of the bridegroom and bride partaking of the bridal food. The eating together of the same food is an essential part of the ceremony among some savage and semi-civilised peoples. The rhymes have a peculiar parallel in the rude and rough customs associated with betrothal and marriage which prevailed in Wales and the North of England.
In " Poor Mary sits a-weeping " (vol. ii. pp. 46-62) we have
.very distinctly the desire of the girl for a "lover." She is
"weeping" for a sweetheart, and, as in the case of " Sally
Water," her weeping or "crying" is to make her "want"

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