Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 17, 1906.djvu/294

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28o The Scape-Goat in European Folklore.

the meaning of the connection of animals with weddings are valid, it is possible that the mimetic dance at weddings may also be interpreted in the same manner.

As showing the connection of the hunt with European marriage ceremonies a Poitou custom is of interest. The newly-married had to pursue a ram in a large field.^ More obscure is the " bachelette " of Chatillon-sur-Seine ; here on Good Friday the young husbands and wives had to perform a ceremony known as " fesser le mouton."^ A cask was set up with a cloth on it; and on the cloth bread and wine which a sheep had to eat. When it had made a good meal the last-married woman took a stick and drove it three times round the cask ; then each of the husbands put it on his shoulders and twisted it three times round his head.^ The meaning of this custom is not clear, but it is tempting to connect the eating and drinking of the sheep with the idea of sin-eating.

Some features of the wren customs tell in favour of the cathartic meaning of marriage customs. Whereas in Wales the wren is taken to the newly-married,^ in Berry it is the newly-married who have to take the wren to the lord of the manor.^ The two customs combined seem to make it clear that the association of the wren with the newly-married cannot have been accidental.

But these by no means exhaust the wedding customs connected with animals. There is the well-known custom of the " Brauthahn " ; before I deal with this, however^ I may refer to a South German practice. In the Upper Palatinate, pork is an essential dish at the wedding break- fast ; in order to remove the odour from the meat the animal is rolled from the roof before the butcher slaughters it.^ The same practice is found, though not in connection with weddings, in the Kurile Islands and in Nias,^ but

^ Mem. Soc. Antiq. France, i. 437. ■lb. iv. 119.

^Byegones, Ap. 22, 1885. ^ La Tradition, iv. 364.

^Schonwert, Aus dem Oberpfalz, i. 98, ^ Globtis, lix. 373.