Any of several drinks shared as a sign of friendship, often drunk from a large two-handled vessel with a lid - the origin of the cups imitated as sports trophies.
Following the unfortunate stabbing of King Edward by his step-mother Elfrida at Corfe Castle in 978, a custom of passing loving-cups has grown up among Livery Companies, trade organisations and similar groups of people who, presumably, don't quite trust each other. A grand two-handed cup with a lid, filled with spiced wine or similar, is passed from guest to guest after formal dinners following a ceremony which varies but generally has those to the left and right of the drinker holding the handles or the lid of the cup so that their dagger arms are not available. The Guild of Freemen of the City of London, The Worshipful Company of Basketmakers and the British Computer Society all have especially noteworthy Loving Cups.
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