Scrutator last vol., p. 928, wants an explanation of lifting It was originally designed to represent our Saviour’s resurrection. The men lift the women on Easter Monday, and the women the men on Tuesday. One or more take hold of each leg, and one or more of each arm, near the body, and lift the person up, in an horizontal position, three times. It is a rude, indecent, and dangerous diversion, practised chiefly by the lower order of people ; our magistrates constantly prohibit it by the bellman, but it subsists at the end of the town, and the women have of late years converted it into a money job. I believe it is chiefly confined to these northern counties.
Another correspondent says, ” Lifting is done one day by the men to the women, and another day by the women to the men ; I think on Easter Monday and Tuesday, in memory of the Resurrection. I speak from memory perhaps about Shrewsbury. Probably this is in Bourne or Brand, on the ` Antiquities of the Common People,’ a book which, however, wants shortening and lengthening.”
Few perhaps of your antiquarian readers are ignorant of the old practice on Easter Sunday, of presenting coloured Eggs, called Pasche Eggs, or Paste Eggs. This custom, like most of those authorised by the Roman Church, is of considerable antiquity, but in England the usage seems at present to be confined to a very few spots in the northern counties. At the commencement of the last century the usage appears to have arrived in Italy at its height, and some curious evidence on the subject is preserved in a MS. volume in the British Museum (MSS. Add. 5239), containing drawings of ecclesiastical ornaments used in ceremonials, etc., executed by Francesco Bartoli and others. At fol. 41, is a coloured representation of the interior and exterior of two of these Easter Eggs, which were presented on Easter Day, 1716, to the beautiful young Lady Manfroni by Signor Bernini, who soon after married her. A note is annexed, by which it appears that it was usual to saw the eggs open longitudinally with a very fine instrument made for that purpose, and to remove the whole of the yolk and white. The shell was then carefully cleaned and dried, and lined with gilt paper, adorned with figures of the saints in silk and gold. Two pair of coloured ribbons were afterwards attached to open and shut the egg (in the manner walnuts are made to open by the French women at present) ; and when finished, they were offered as a souvenir by gallants to their mistresses. But the eggs presented by Signor Bernini were of a superior description. They were painted on the outside with emblematic figures of hearts, initials, etc., and in the inside contained, on a blue and gold ground, four several portraits of the young lady to whom they were given, represented in various attitudes, and playing on different musical instruments. The eggs were then fastened together by crimson ribbons ; and when opened, would cause a pretty surprise to the object of his addresses. In the same volume, p. 42, there are drawings of six of these eggs, painted in various colours, after the usage of Rome. A note says, ” These on Easter day are carried to church to ye parish priests, who bless them and sprinkle ym w: holy water; on yt day, at dinner, ye cloth is adorned w: sweet herbs and flowers, and ye first thing yt is eat are these blessed eggs ; we are chiefly painted by ye nuns of Amelia, a small city about 30 miles from Rome : ye common sort of these eggs are all of one colour, as yellow, blew, red, or purple, we are sold in ye streets till Ascention day or Whitsuntide. Anno 1716.”