Chrisom

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Anciently, a chrisom, or "chrisom-cloth," was the face-cloth, or piece of linen laid over a child's head when he or she was baptised or christened. Originally, the purpose of the chrisom-cloth was to keep the chrism, a consecrated oil, from accidentally rubbing off.[1] With time, the word's meaning changed, to that of a white mantle thrown over the whole infant at the time of baptism. The term has come to refer to a child who died within a month after its baptism—so called for the chrisom cloth that was used as a shroud for it. Additionally, in London's Bills of Mortality, the term chrisom was used to refer to infants who died within a month after being born.[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Nares, Robert (1859). A Glossary; or Collection of Words, Phrases, Names and Allusions to Customs, Proverbs, etc., Which Have Been Thought to Require Illustration in the Works of English Authors, Particularly Shakespeare and His Contemporaries. London: John Russel Smith. p. 160.