A university in Leicester has revealed the Easter tradition of kissing and being elevated into the air on a grand chair.

The custom of ‘lifting’ and ‘heaving’ is referenced in several sources in the University of Leicester’s Special Collections in the David Wilson Library as an Easter tradition in the 18th and early 19th centuries.

In a statement, University of Leicester have explained that in Lancashire, Staffordshire and Warwickshire and other parts of England, the practice involved groups of people gathering together in the street and physically lifting those they came across, into the air, expecting a financial reward in return.

In some parts of the country a person would be laid out horizontally, while in others they would be placed in a sitting position on the bearers’ hands.

When inside, people would often be lifted on a chair – and in all cases the ceremony is considered incomplete without three distinct elevations made, the University added.

In Warwickshire, Easter Monday and Easter Tuesday were known as ‘heaving-day’ because on the Monday it was the tradition for men to ‘heave and kiss the women’ and on the Tuesday for the women to do the same to men.