Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 14, 1903.djvu/93

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Collectanea. jj

houses ' open,' besides both the Rechabite and Mason Halls, and the guizers spent the early hours of Thursday on their rounds of visiting, and danced ' richt merrilie ' till a very advanced hour. Too much praise cannot be given to the committee who worked so very enthusiastically to make the ancient festival of ' Uphelly A the splendid success it was." — [Abridged from the Shetland Times, Saturday, January 31st, 1903. — Ed.]

Extracts from Signor V. Busutil's " Holiday Customs IN Malta." (Malta, 1894.)

(Communicated by Mr. H. W. Underdown through Mr. J. G. Frazer.)

Sf. JohrCs Eve. — ^' Not unlike other nations, the Maltese are not indifferent in celebrating the Nativity of St. John by kindling great fires in the public streets, and giving their children dolls to carry in their arms on this day, in order to make good the pro- phecy respecting the Baptist, Miilti in 7iaiivitate ejtis gaudebunt. Days and even weeks before this festival groups of children are seen going out into the country fields to gather straw, twigs, and all sorts of other combustibles, which they store up for St. John's Eve.

" On the night of the 23rd of June, the day before the festival of the saint, great fires are kindled in the streets, squares, and market places of the towns and villages of the island, and as fire after fire blazes out of the darkness of that summer night, the effect is singularly striking. These fires are sometimes kept up for hours, being continually fed by the scores of bystanders, who take great delight in throwing amidst the flames some old rickety piece of furniture which they consider as lumber in their houses. Lots of happy and reckless children, and very often men. are seen merrily leaping in succession over and through the crackling flames.

" At the time of the order of St. John of Jerusalem, the Grand Master himself, soon after the Angeltis, used to leave his palace, accompanied by the Grand Prior, the Bishop, and two bailiffs, to