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Breaking a Stick


Part of the marriage ceremony of the American Indians, as breaking a wine-glass is part of the marriage ceremony of the Jews. (Lady Augusta Hamilton: Marriage Rites, etc., 292, 298.)

In one of Raphael’s pictures we see an unsuccessful suitor of the Virgin Mary breaking his stick. This alludes to the legend that the several suitors were each to bring an almond stick, which was to be laid up in the sanctuary over-night, and the owner of the stick which budded was to be accounted the suitor which God approved of. It was thus that Joseph became the husband of Mary. (Pseudo-Matthew’s Gospel, 40, 41.)

In Florence is a picture in which the rejected suitors break their sticks on Joseph’s back.

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Entry taken from Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, edited by the Rev. E. Cobham Brewer, LL.D. and revised in 1895.

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Break Down (To)
Break Faith (To)
Break Ground (To)
Break In (To)
Break of Day
Break the Ice (To)
Break your Back (To)
Break up Housekeeping (To)
Break with One (To)
Breakers Ahead
Breaking a Stick
Brèche de Roland
Breeches Bible
Breidablik [wide-shining]