“It is customary at Oxford to cut the cheese (called in the north of England, in allusion to the mother’s complaints at delivery, “the Groaning Cheese”) in the middle when the child is born, and so by degrees form it into a large kind of ring, through which the child must be passed at the christening.”
–from Observations on the popular Antiquaries of Great Britain, 1849
This is actually a multi-purpose cheese, as slices of it are also used like wedding cake, put under a young woman’s pillow, and slept upon so they would dream of their lovers.
Another source gives out that the Groaning Cheese is actually a cake made to look like a cheese, hollowed out to pass the baby through.
Is this a tradition you’d like to see brought back for christenings? 🙂