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Sunday, September 29, 2013

More Michaelmas Customs

Blackberries:
The one Michaelmas custom that survives to this day is that you should not eat blackberries after the 29th of September. There is a very good reason for this custom, namely that by this time of year blackberries are tasteless and watery.

Other fruits, particularly nuts and rose-hips also have customs associated with Michaelmas. For example, 'Hipping Day' in Yorkshire, or Michaelmas pie in Ireland (Made of apples).

Fishing:
Michaelmas marks the end of the fishing season.

Curfew:
The start of the curfew for winter night nights. The local church bell sounded each night from Michaelmas until lent. Curfew is derived from the French phrase 'courve feu', which means to cover, or to dowse a fire.

Mop Fairs (Hiring Time):
Michaelmas was traditionally time when labourers and servants were hired. As the name suggests, maids would carry mops, but other trades carried the tools of their trades. Thus the squires or the lord's of the manor could tell what skills the prospective employees had, for example, a Shepherds his crook, and a gardener a rake.

Rent:
When tenants came to pay their quarter's rent, they bring a fowl at Midsummer, a dish of fish in Lent, a capon at Christmas, and on Michaelmas Day, a goose.

Trees:
'A Tree planted at Michaelmas, will surely not go amiss'

Note: This post was compiled by Shirley Twofeathers for Gypsy Magic, you may repost and share it only if you give me credit and a link back to this website. Blessed be.

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