Sin eater

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a man who (according to a former practice in England) for a small gratuity ate a piece of bread laid on the chest of a dead person, whereby he was supposed to have taken the sins of the dead person upon himself.

See also: Sin

References in periodicals archive ?
The first season finale of "Sleepy Hollow" revealed that Henry, the sin-eater, is actually Ichbod Crane and Katrina's son, Jeremy Ichabod.
Being a native of the Amman Valley, my interest and curiosity in the sin-eater were naturally aroused," said Mr Norman.
The sin-eater would be summoned and would place a plateful of salt covered with a slice of bread upon the breast of the deceased.
After the recitation of appropriate charms over the body, the sin-eater would then proceed to eat both bread and salt, and wash them down with a tankard of beer.
The major difference between the scapegoat and the sin-eater rituals is that the former appealed to the living whereas the latter to the already dead.
In this sense, Fortinbras is not only a scavenger cleaning the battle field of the dead bodies, but he is also a sin-eater, who allegorically takes away Hamlet's sins by justifying and representing his deeds.
The sin-eater is a social scapegoat role played by members of the superstitious society of Wales during the Dark Ages.
The food was believed to have absorbed the sins committed by the villager during his or her life on earth, and consumption of the food by the sin-eater released the deceased from obligatory punishment in the next life and freed him or her for heavenly rewards.
Welsh settlers in America are the subject of a new faith-based film The Last Sin-Eater which was released in the States this week.
In parts of Carmarthenshire a specialist sin-eater would be called in to consume a piece of salted bread laid on the breast of the dead person.
He s been an active musician for more than 18 years, playing in bands such as Citizens Arrest, Chisel, the Sin-Eaters, and currently Ted Leo and the Pharmacists.
Racing professionals range from Shamans and Warriors to Connections and Sin-eaters.