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The Stations of the SunA History of the Ritual Year in Britain$
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Ronald Hutton

Print publication date: 1996

Print ISBN-13: 9780198205708

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198205708.001.0001

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Wakes, Revels, and Hoppings

Wakes, Revels, and Hoppings

(p.348) 34 Wakes, Revels, and Hoppings
The Stations of the Sun

Ronald Hutton

Oxford University Press

In mainland Britain, Michaelmas was a day for holding courts, paying rents, and enjoying a good meal – traditionally of goose. Instead of having a single date in late summer or autumn for communal feasting and celebration, early modern England enjoyed festivity at that season in three localized forms. One consisted of harvest suppers, as described. Another was provided by fairs. The third consisted of the dedication feasts of parish churches and chapels, celebrations held annually to commemorate the foundation of these institutions and to honour their patrons. By the sixteenth century they were popularly known as ‘wakes’, a term which has no proven derivation but which is probably the same as that employed by John Mirk for the midsummer ‘wake fires’, signifying that people stayed awake late to make merry.

Keywords:   Britain, Michaelmas, England, harvest, suppers, fairs, feast, churches, wakes, John Mirk

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