Wednesday, 7 January 2009

St Distaff's Day - 7th January

In former times, 7th January was jocularly known as St Distaff's Day. It was the female equivalent of Plough Monday: nominally the day on which work resumed after the Christmas festivities, but effectively a day of transition between the two. The stereotypical tool of the trade for women was the distaff, used for the spinning of flax.

Partly work and partly play
Ye must on St Distaff's Day:
From the plough soon free your team;
Then come home and fodder them.
If the maids a-spinning go,
Burn the flax and fire the tow:
Scorch their plackets but beware
That ye singe no maiden hair.
Bring in pails of water then,
Let the maids bewash the men.
Give StDistaf all teh right:
Then bid Christmas sport good-night
And next morrow, everyone
To his own vocation.

Robert Herrick, Hesperides, St Distaff's Day.

Taken from Chambers Book of Days

So there you go, I can spend the day in transition, spinning by the stove. think I'll pass on the bewashing of the men, though LOL

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