, pram
   A number of beliefs cluster around the cradle and, by extension, the pram. Rocking an empty cradle is regularly reported, from the early 19th century onwards, as resulting in a new baby arriving soon, and is still current in the idea of advice not to push an empty pram. It is also considered by many that to have a cradle or pram in the house before the baby is born is to tempt fate and run the risk of bad luck, while the underlying fear is the baby being born dead or dying young. This notion is first reported in the 1890s, and is still regularly mentioned, although it is nowadays acceptable to buy one, but it should not be delivered to the house in advance of the birth. Other, less common, beliefs can be quoted. Referring to the north of England in the mid-19th century, Denham reported, 'In all sales either under distraint for rent or common debt, it is an ancient and invariable custom to leave the cradle unsold, and the original owner is at liberty to repossess it' (Denham Tracts, 1891: ii. 40). In Yorkshire, new parents were warned that a cradle must be paid for before the baby sleeps in it, otherwise it 'will end its days lacking the means to pay for its own coffin' (Blakeborough, 1898: 114-15). An annual Candlemas custom at Blidworth (Nottinghamshire) involved the vicar rocking the last-baptized infant in an old cradle bedecked with flowers and surrounded by candles, before the altar. The custom was revived in 1923, although it is locally believed that it dates back to the 13th century (Wright and Lones, 1938: ii. 123-4).
   ■ Opie and Tatem, 1989: 103, 315-16.

A Dictionary of English folklore. . 2014.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Cradle — may refer to: Mechanical devices: Bassinet, a small bed, often on rockers, in which babies and small children sleep Ship cradle, supports a ship that is dry docked Cradle (grain), in agriculture is a device based upon a scythe to cleanly reap and …   Wikipedia

  • cradle — [krād′ l] n. [ME cradel < OE cradol < * kradula, little basket; akin to OHG kratto, basket < IE base * ger , to twist, turn > CRANK1, CRAMP1, CREEK] 1. a baby s small bed, usually on rockers 2. the earliest period of one s life;… …   English World dictionary

  • Cradle — Cra dle (kr[=a]d l), n. [AS. cradel, cradol, prob. from Celtic; cf. Gael. creathall, Ir. craidhal, W. cryd a shaking or rocking, a cradle; perh. akin to E. crate.] 1. A bed or cot for a baby, oscillating on rockers or swinging on pivots; hence,… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Cradle — Cra dle, v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Cradled} ( d ld); p. pr. & vb. n. {Cradling} ( dl?ng).] 1. To lay to rest, or rock, as in a cradle; to lull or quiet, as by rocking. [1913 Webster] It cradles their fears to sleep. D. A. Clark. [1913 Webster] 2. To… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • cradle — ► NOUN 1) a baby s bed or cot, especially one mounted on rockers. 2) a place or period in which something originates or flourishes: the cradle of civilization. 3) a supporting framework resembling a cradle, in particular for a boat under repair… …   English terms dictionary

  • cradle — [n1] small bed for baby baby bed, bassinet, cot, crib, hamper, Moses basket, pannier, trundle bed; concept 443 cradle [n2] early childhood; origins babyhood, beginning, birthplace, fount, fountain, fountainhead, infancy, nativity, nursery, origin …   New thesaurus

  • Cradle — Cra dle, v. i. To lie or lodge, as in a cradle. [1913 Webster] Withered roots and husks wherein the acorn cradled. Shak. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • cradle — index bear (support), genesis, lull, origin (source), origination, source Burton s Legal Thesaurus …   Law dictionary

  • cradle — cradler, n. /krayd l/, n., v., cradled, cradling. n. 1. a small bed for an infant, usually on rockers. 2. any of various supports for objects set horizontally, as the support for the handset of a telephone. 3. the place where anything is nurtured …   Universalium

  • cradle — cra|dle1 [ˈkreıdl] n [: Old English; Origin: cradol] 1.) a small bed for a baby, especially one that moves gently from side to side →↑cot ▪ She rocked the cradle to quieten the child. 2.) the cradle of sth formal the place where something… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • cradle — [[t]kre͟ɪd(ə)l[/t]] cradles, cradling, cradled 1) N COUNT A cradle is a baby s bed with high sides. Cradles often have curved bases so that they rock from side to side. Syn: crib 2) N COUNT The cradle is the part of a telephone on which the… …   English dictionary