sun


sun
   One of the chief origin theories proposed by 19th-century scholars, especially Max Muller, was that numerous seasonal customs, from *bonfires to *cheese rolling, originally celebrated, encouraged, or mimicked the solar cycle. Arguments for the solar interpretation of fire festivals can be found in Frazer's Golden Bough, though on balance he thinks it likelier that they were designed to ward off evil.
   Actual English folk beliefs concerning the sun are few. It was said to be lucky to dance at dawn on Easter Day, when people would climb hills in the hope of seeing this sight, or try to catch its reflection in pails of water. Occasionally, children were told it was wicked to point at the sun, and you could be struck dead for doing so. More commonly, women maintained that direct sunlight on the hearth would 'put the fire out', and would draw curtains or place screens to prevent this; this may have developed from a medieval idea that if a house was on fire, sunshine could extinguish the blaze (Opie and Tatem, 1989: 381).
   See *rightward movement.

A Dictionary of English folklore. . 2014.

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