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churches on the same day. Easter is styled by the fathers the highest of all festivals, the feast of feasts, the queen of festivals, and Dominica Gaudii, the joyous Sunday. Masters granted freedom to their slaves at this season, and valuable presents were made to the poor.
The august ceremonies performed at Rome on this day, Whitsunday, and other festivals, are noticed in T. T. for 1815, p. 165: the magnificent pageant at Moscow, on account of the Resurrection, is also described at p. 90 of the same volume. For a variety of old English customs observed at Easter, we refer to T. T. for 1814, pp. 82-84. - 23, 24.-EASTER MONDAY and TUESDAY.
Every day in this week was formerly observed as a religious festival, sermons being preached, and the sacrament administered. In many places, servants were permitted to rest from their usual employments, that they might constantly attend public worship. During fifteen days, of which the paschal solemnity consisted, the courts of justice were shut, and all public games, shows, and amusements, were prohibited. It is unnecessary to observe that this practice has long ceased, and that the Easter week is usually devoted to relaxation and amusement... .
Mr. Turner, of the Foreign Office, in his interesting · Tour to the Levant,' lately published, affords some very curious information respecting the Easter ceremonies at Jerusalem, the grand resort of pilgrims, at this period, from all parts of the world. • I went (he says) at twelve, to witness the most extraordinary scene I have ever beheld during the twenty-two years of my life—the holy fire, as it is called, struck by the Greek and Armenian bishops within the tomb of our Saviour, and believed by the
* See an account of the Easter sports and pastimes of our ancestors, in our last volume, pp. 96, 97.
ignorant and credulous crowd to descend annually from heaven; a pious fraud, according to Gibbon, first devised in the ninth century. . We entered the church of the Holy Sepulchre with difficulty, our janizary carrying before us a whip of several leathern thongs, which he used most liberally, though not unnecessarily, to make way for us. The church was filled with pilgrims and spec. tators, of whom there were not fewer than 7,000. The Aga was at the door, vainly attempting to keep order, with between forty and fifty soldiers, all using, unmercifully, whips of the description I have mentioned. After the paying pilgrims and inhabitants of the city have entered, the procuratori of the Greek and Armenian convents compound for a small sum with the Aga, for the admission of the poor pilgrims whọ cannot afford to pay entrance-money, of whom there are this year not less than 500. The Aga was seated under a green pavilion, which he formally puts up on the Friday, and retains till the Sunday. He remains about the Sepulchre all the day of Friday, and the whole of Saturday, day and night. Within the church (I give that name to the collective building) were held bazaars of bread, fruit, vegetables, beads, crucifixes, &c.; and I saw many pilgrims higgling and swearing at each other for a para, within fifty feet of the tomb of Christ. The janizary made way for me by force, through the multitude, to the gallery of the Roman Catholic monks, but no care could prevent many Turkish boys and servants from crowding in with us; these are mostly children of the Cadi, Mufti, &c. of the city; and under pretence of being their attendants, numbers introduce themselves, whom the monks do not like to turn out for fear of offending the authorities. In spite, however, of the crowd that filled the gallery, I succeeded in getting a very good place, from which I was forced to drive back several Turkish soldiers, who attempted to drive me out of it, and one fellow among the rest, who had the insolence to hold up his stick at me.
• What a scene was before me! The Greek and Armenian galleries overlooking the dome were filled with female pilgrims of those nations enthusiastically looking towards the Sepulchre, and crossing themselves. Below me, the whole church, and particularly the circular apartment containing the dome, was absolutely crammed with pilgrims, men and women, hallooing, shouting, singing, and violently struggling to be near the Sepulchre, while the Turkish soldiers were driving them back with their whips. One man I saw in the contention had his right ear literally torn off. The place immediately near the window, whence the fire is given, was occupied by the richest pilgrims, who, for this precedence, pay to the Greeks and Turks 200 and 300 sequins. One old woman, sitting on the door of the Greek church, had kept that place (a Roman Catholic monk who was shut in told me) for a day and a night with out moving, and had paid two dollars to get it. A ring was kept as well as the tumult would allow, by the crowd round the Sepulchre, round which, pilgrims (sometimes a single one, sometimes four, sometimes six, together in a circle) were carried on others' shoulders, singing religious songs in Arabic and Greek; while at other times a party of ten or twelve ran rioting round it, knocking down every one that stood in their way, and shouting as loud as they were able. The Greek and Armenian bishops were shut up in the Sepulchre at ten o'clock with a single Turk, who is well paid to declare that he sees the fire descend miraculously, or at least to keep silence. Before they enter, the Sepulchre is publicly inspected, and all the lamps extinguished; but the Turk, I was informed, had been heard to declare that they carry a flint and steel with them. I was inclined to think that the fire was phosphoric, as the priests declare that it will not burn a person; but on seeing
it, I found it was common fire, and that the fable of its not burning is only believed by enthusiasts. At two o'clock the governor entered, preceded by soldiers, who were forced to use the utmost violence to make way for him, and followed by his secretaries and servants. He took his place in the Frank gallery, where a handsome divan was prepared for him, and where he was attended by the Roman Catholic procuratore and his dragomans. If the fire be much delayed, he becomes impatient, and generally gives a sign, on which it immediately appears. At five minutes past two, there was a Greek procession round the Sepulchre; I counted thirty-seven priests, Lesides the bishop and monks, and nuns. The bishop was dressed in a gilt mantle, with long crape over his bonnet, and carried a crosier in his hand, Of the priests, some wore green, some yellow, and some dark-coloured robes, richly embroidered with gold; and the monks and nuns were all clothed in deep black. All wore (except the women who had long veils) the common cap of the Greek priests. They walked, singing loudly, three times round the tomb, preceded by six banners, representing the nativity, passion, and crucifixion of our Saviour. As the time approached for the coming of the fire, the crowd became more tumultuous, and rolled in a wave towards the window, whence no efforts of the Turks, and of the happy ones who had secured a place there, exerted in curses, blows, kicks, &c. could drive them. At length, at twenty minutes past two, the fire was given from the window, and was received with a tremendous and universal shout through the whole church. On its first appearance, the torch was seized by a boy near the window, who rubbed it against his face, head, and neck, with such vehemence as to extinguish it; for which he was well beaten by those near him. Eight different times was the fire given from the window, and as every pilgrim carried candles in his hand (in bunches, some of four, some of six, some of eight, some of twelve, and some a single one, according to their purse) in ten minutes the whole church was in a flame, and in five more, nearly every candle was extinguished. But what enthusiasm ! the men rubbed them against their heads and faces, their caps and handkerchiefs; and the women uncovered the bosom, directing the flame along their heads, necks, and faces, and all crossing themselves during this operation, with the utmost devotion and velocity. The candles, when a little of them is burnt, are carried home, and ever afterwards preserved as sacred. Messengers with lanterns stand ready at the door, who immediately carry the fire to the Greek convents of Bethlehem, of the Cross (at Sullah), and of Saint Saba, near the Dead Sea. Immediately after giving out the fire, the Greek bishop, coming out of the Sepulchre, was carried by the crowd to the Greek church, immediately opposite to the door, holding in each hand torches of the fire, from which the pilgrims scramble to light their candles. After this, the Turks guard the tomb, and the pilgrims who enter for the next three days pay, the first ones from eighty to one hundred, and the latter from ten to twenty piastres. When the candles were extinguished, the smoke for the first ten mimutes hid every thing from sight; but as the top of the dome is only an open lattice without glass, this soon cleared away. The greater part of the pilgrims then left the circular apartment in which stands the tomb, to make room for a procession of Armenian, Syrian, and Coptic priests, who walked together in the order in which I have written them. Turner's Tour to the Levant.