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Abbotsbury & the Swannery



Do we offer floral tributes to Neptune in England to-day? Yes, at Abbotsbury on the 13th May every year the children go round the village with large garlands, asking for gifts from the inhabitants. When the round has been completed, a start is made for the beach, the flowers are placed in boats, and put out to sea--not for Neptune to do as he likes with--for they are brought back again, taken to the church, where a service is gone through. Here then is an excellent instance of a Christianised pagan superstition, for the floral tributes, if Neptune is to be worshipped, should be committed to the waves. The idea was to propitiate the god and bring luck in fishing. In all probability the custom will linger for some years to come, but it is already robbed of its original significance, and shows some signs of decay in consequence. Maybe some modern pagan, interested in old customs, will induce the inhabitants to return to the old rite of trusting the floral gifts to Father Neptune.

danielspaniel Posted by danielspaniel
13th May 2005ce
Edited 18th March 2007ce

Comments (1)

Interesting custom nevertheless. Wish we could get away from this classics thing sometimes. Let's hear it for Manawydan fab Llyr ;) Posted by m6
25th August 2014ce
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