Christmas Carols, Ancient And Modern

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producing expectoration, and thereby, as they fancy, driving off disease; a cordial is afterwards admi­nistered around. The horses, cattle, and other bestial stock are treated in the same way."*
New year's gifts are not yet obsolete, although the practice is losing ground, which is a pity, as it served to strengthen and cement that kind feeling in society, which so many circumstances concur to jar and interrupt. It is now very much confined to interchange of gifts in families, at least in this country. For on the Continent the mutual ex­change of presents, in the shape of jewellery, fancy articles, bon-bons, sweetmeats, &c. is very consi­derable : the expenditure in Paris alone for them (6trennes, as they are called, and hence le jour cTetrennes) has been reckoned at upwards of £20,000. Visits are made throughout the circle of a person's acquaintance, and the customary gifts left, which, if not intrinsically valuable, are at least fanciful and pretty. In Spain a similar custom formerly existed, tables being prepared in the house-squares, or entrance halls, for the reception of the visiting cards and presents.
According to Chardin, the Persians on this day exchange gilded eggs, painted and ornamented, a custom of great antiquity, the egg typifying the commencement of things, whence the mundane eggy so essential in much of the Oriental Mythology. In the Celtic countries the Druids presented misle-toe to the people about the time of the new year, for which they no doubt obtained some good equi­valent. Boulangerf says, " that the second day of the sigillaria (the four latter days of the Saturnalia) which fell on the 21st of December, was the fete of the goddess Angeronia^ or Ageronia, the goddess of
* Popular Superstitions of the Highlanders, pp. 252-3. f L'Antiquite devoil£e, vol. iv. pp. 16-17.

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