Page:Elizabethan People.djvu/200

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that the sun actually danced with joy on the day of the Resurrection. It was the common custom to go out early upon Easter morning to watch the sun rise; and it is not improbable that, if the observers looked persistently at the new-risen luminary without wincing, they were often rewarded with a sight of this phenomenon.

Another of the numerous customs connected with this feast was most frequently practised in the north. At Newcastle the Mayor, Aldermen, and many burgesses used regularly at Easter and Whitsuntide to visit the Forth, with the mace, the sword, and the cap of maintenance triumphantly borne before in procession.

The morris-dance, especially connected with the May-day celebration, was also occasionally an element in the Easter sports. The principal outdoor game, however, played upon this occasion was hand-ball. It was played in all parts of the kingdom by the youth of both sexes, and the distinctive prize at this season of the year was a tansy cake. When Mercutio asked Benvolio whether he did "not fall out with a tailor for wearing his new doublet before Easter," he referred to the popular custom of wearing new clothes upon that day. It was, in fact, as necessary to wear something new on Easter in that time as it is to-day. Dyer