ashen faggot

   Reported only from the West Country, this was similar to the *Yule Log custom in that the faggot was brought in with some ceremony and laid on the fire on Christmas Eve, but it was made of smaller ash sticks bound into a faggot with strips of hazel, withy, or bramble. These strips were watched carefully as there were beliefs and customs attached to them. In one report from Torquay in 1836 farmworkers could demand more cider from the farmer each time a strip burnt through, while in families it was customary for each of the children present to choose a strip and the one whose strip burnt through first would marry first. The earliest references to the custom are from the turn of the 19th century, much later than those for the Yule Log; the custom still continues in some homes, and takes place in some West Country pubs, such as at Curry Rivel (Somerset).
   ■ Wright and Lones, 1940: iii. 213-14, 227; G. R. Willey, Folklore 94:1 (1983), 40-3.

A Dictionary of English folklore. . 2014.

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