Attention: Lovers of the supernatural- do you know what tonight is?
According to an old English tradition, if you sit on the steps of a church on St. Mark's Eve from 11pm to 1am and are very silent you should see a parade of ghosts passing by who represent those who are going to die within one year. Some traditions say that you have to sit for three nights. Other traditions say that once you begin this tradition you must observe it every year for the rest of you life. I've never tried this because I'm usually in bed by 9pm and don't like to plan a year in advance let alone the rest of my life.
You could see how this tradition could get very out of hand. The one person who is able to stay awake could say they saw the ghost of anyone passing by and thus scare the whits out of a person by letting them know they would die within the year. (I believe the Church frowned upon the practice.) There reportedly was one woman in an English village that stayed up every year and then charged people who wanted to know if she saw them in the parade. Nice. Keep in mind that this tradition dates back to the seventeenth century and faded away in the nineteenth century.
You can read more about St. Mark's Eve at Chambers Book of Days. As for me, I'll be decorating the house with some ghosts and maybe making a paper ghost to celebrate St. Mark's Eve- all before 9pm. I'm not sure I want to know who will die before the year is up. Surprise me.
|Paper Ghosts from Parents Magazine|