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Folklore: Michaelmas customs

Emma B 29 Sep 07 - 09:52 AM
HouseCat 29 Sep 07 - 11:25 AM
michaelr 29 Sep 07 - 12:50 PM
HouseCat 29 Sep 07 - 01:08 PM
Emma B 29 Sep 07 - 01:14 PM
HouseCat 29 Sep 07 - 01:27 PM
Fidjit 30 Sep 07 - 01:24 PM
Herga Kitty 30 Sep 07 - 02:22 PM
Fidjit 30 Sep 07 - 03:22 PM
Liz the Squeak 30 Sep 07 - 03:53 PM
Folkiedave 30 Sep 07 - 04:23 PM
Jack Campin 30 Sep 07 - 06:57 PM
GUEST,leeneia 30 Sep 07 - 11:02 PM
katlaughing 30 Sep 07 - 11:54 PM
masato sakurai 01 Oct 07 - 12:13 AM
Bonnie Shaljean 01 Oct 07 - 10:16 AM
Emma B 01 Oct 07 - 10:19 AM
MikeRebec 01 Oct 07 - 01:23 PM
greg stephens 01 Oct 07 - 01:31 PM
eddie1 01 Oct 07 - 01:47 PM
Liz the Squeak 01 Oct 07 - 03:54 PM
Bonnie Shaljean 01 Oct 07 - 04:06 PM
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Subject: Folklore: Michaelmas customs
From: Emma B
Date: 29 Sep 07 - 09:52 AM

It's Lammas eve, I hope you all got to sleep in late this morning.

Folklore says that the Devil spits on bramble bushes tonight so it's advisable not to pick them after Michaelmas.

Any other traditions associated with today?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Michaelmas customs
From: HouseCat
Date: 29 Sep 07 - 11:25 AM

Legend has it that St. George was St. Michael's earthly representative, so in some parts of Britain a pastry dragon is made to mark the day. We make ours from sweet piecrust and apples. I make a regular-looking apple pie, with the oldest daughter stirring the filling thrice round while asking a blessing upon the household, and I then "sculpt" a dragon from piecrust onto the top of the pie, the more ferocious-looking the better! Bake til fiery hot, as dragons ought to be, and then slay the dragon with a pastry knife to the tummy. Good fun! The kids look forward to it all year.
Also the traditional day to settle accounts, rents, and move into a new home. Goose is the traditional food of the day (but we don't care for goose). Michaelmas daisy is the flower for the day.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Michaelmas customs
From: michaelr
Date: 29 Sep 07 - 12:50 PM

Please enlighten a clueless American: What is Michaelmas and Lammas? Do I have my own holiday or what?

Cheers,
Michael


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Michaelmas customs
From: HouseCat
Date: 29 Sep 07 - 01:08 PM

In a way you do have your own day, Michael. Michaelmas is the feast day of St. Michael the Archangel. So, angelic or not, you can claim today as your name day and celebrate it as a second birthday if one is not enough for you! As for Lammas, I had thought it was celebrated on 1st August, marking midsummer and the wheat harvest, but I may be completely off on that one.
So go make yourself a dragon pie and celebrate!


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Michaelmas customs
From: Emma B
Date: 29 Sep 07 - 01:14 PM

Housecat you are right of course Lammas (or Loaf mass)is August 1st - it must have been that traditional long lie in I had this morning on behalf of the patron saint of (hang-over prone) sailors :)


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Michaelmas customs
From: HouseCat
Date: 29 Sep 07 - 01:27 PM

Emma knows how to celebrate properly ;~)


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Michaelmas customs
From: Fidjit
Date: 30 Sep 07 - 01:24 PM

What about

Martinmas is coming lads
What pleasure we shall see
Out hats off to the wind me boys
And our money it will flee
And every lad will have his lass
And he'll have her on his knee

Sing whoa me boys sing whoa
Drive on me lads drive on
Who wouldn't be for all the world
A jolly waggoner.

Chas


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Michaelmas customs
From: Herga Kitty
Date: 30 Sep 07 - 02:22 PM

Martinmass not till November.... (it fell about the Martinmass)

Kitty


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Michaelmas customs
From: Fidjit
Date: 30 Sep 07 - 03:22 PM

Martinmass is still coming Kitty.

Martinmass not really celebrated now as All Saints day took over the same time. Saturday before the shops close early in Sweden.

Chas


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Michaelmas customs
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 30 Sep 07 - 03:53 PM

Martinmass is the feast of St Martin of Tours, 11th November. There's usually a little dry spell of fine weather associated with that time, called St Martin's Summer. It stems from the legend that when Martin died, his body was floated down the river to its burial place and as it passed, the trees and flowers along the riverbank burst into bloom and leaf to honour the saint.

Lammas is the Loaf Mass, to celebrate the first fruits of the harvest. Traditionally a loaf is made with the first wheat cut and is given to the church/poor.

Michaelmas is the name given to the 29th September, the feast day of St Michael and All Angels in the Anglican church, St Michael, Raphael and Gabriel in the Catholic church (three Archangels).

It falls at the autumnal equinox, and was used as a Quarter day - hiring fairs were common in agricultural areas, a day when new contracts were made for winter jobs, rents collected or new leases made; the harvest had to be finished and the last sheaf cut by this day - this itself was fraught with danger as it would have been the last refuge of any wildlife that lived in the field during the summer. Some cultures said it was an evil spirit and had to be destroyed, hence some traditions of stomping it flat. Other traditions were to have all the reapers throw their sickles at it, so no one person would have the bad luck associated with the "killing" of the evil corn spirit.

A goose that had been fattened with the gleanings from the harvested fields, or had been allowed to graze in the stubble, was the traditional feast day dish for St Michael and a special loaf made with the last wheat was made - this became the fancy wheatsheaf loaf that was common in harvest festivals after the 1840's when the tradition was revived again in Cornwall.

The Devil spits on hedgerow fruit at Hallowe'en, so you've still got a month to pick 'em.

EmmaB, you need to put your head forward a month.

LTS


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Michaelmas customs
From: Folkiedave
Date: 30 Sep 07 - 04:23 PM

In "The English Year" (Penguin 2006) Steve Roud (he of the index) says:

"An extremely widespread superstition, all over the British Isles maintains that blackberries were bad or even poisonous after a certain date. This date varied from place to place ranging from Michaelmas to 10th or 11th of October and as the latter equates to September 29th until the change in the calendar in 1752 it is clear that Michaelmas is the key day."...............

Certainly around here it is Michaelmas that is regarded as the day when the Devil spits on blackberries making them inedible.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Michaelmas customs
From: Jack Campin
Date: 30 Sep 07 - 06:57 PM

In Scots tradition, fucking the landlady?

"I fee'd a lad at Michaelmas..."


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Michaelmas customs
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 30 Sep 07 - 11:02 PM

"An extremely widespread superstition, all over the British Isles maintains that blackberries were bad or even poisonous after a certain date."

and after that date, no doubt, the folk who spread the superstition picked and ate all the blackberries.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Michaelmas customs
From: katlaughing
Date: 30 Sep 07 - 11:54 PM

Don't suppose it may have had anything to do with something poisonous that looked like blackberries that time of year, do you? Maybe the following, though I have no idea if they look like blackberries or not:

Black nightshade( Solanum nigrum ), often found in pastures, waste place, meadows, and near dwellings, is an annual that grows one or two feet and produces poisonous large, black berries in late summer and early autumn.

Ah, well, I can see the leaves are similar, but not the FRUIT. Scratch that idea. (I don't know what I was thinking; I KNOW what blackberries look like!:-)


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Michaelmas customs
From: masato sakurai
Date: 01 Oct 07 - 12:13 AM

On Michaelmas Day, see Chamber's The Book of Days, vol. 2, pp. 387-390.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Michaelmas customs
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 01 Oct 07 - 10:16 AM

WOWWWWW Masato, thanks for that link! I managed to get ahold of an 1864 edition of the Chambers Book Of Days (in two gorgeous green leather volumes) about 20 years ago from a secondhand bookseller/finder somewhere in Sussex, and it's one of my treasured possessions. SO glad to see this invaluable resource is being made available online (it also has a lot of lovely old woodcuts & other illustrations). Good on yer...


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Michaelmas customs
From: Emma B
Date: 01 Oct 07 - 10:19 AM

FANTASTIC link!

I shall pray to St Gertrude from now on :)


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Michaelmas customs
From: MikeRebec
Date: 01 Oct 07 - 01:23 PM

Pleased to see the Book of Days mentioned. I have added it to my favourites to peruse at leisure.
Thanks Masato.

Good to see your name Bonnie. Saw you play years ago. Are you still gigging?

Mike.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Michaelmas customs
From: greg stephens
Date: 01 Oct 07 - 01:31 PM

Whatever happens down your way, L the S, round here the devil not only spits on the blackberries on the last day of September, but also does something considerably more offensive.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Michaelmas customs
From: eddie1
Date: 01 Oct 07 - 01:47 PM

Thanks Greg. I distinctly remember Jennifer of "Two Fat Ladies" fame advising us that the devil pissed on the blackberries at Michaelmas.

Considering a delicacy in Chinese cuisine is bird's nest soup made primarily from bird spit, I don't think devil's spit could be much worse. But piss??? It probably tastes like lager!

Eddie


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Michaelmas customs
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 01 Oct 07 - 03:54 PM

It's usually the dogs that piss on the blackberries, which is why you should never pick any from lower than your knee, unless you know there is a Great Dane or a Pyrannean Mountain dog in the area.

In Dorset it was Hallowe'en - after all, the ghosties and ghoulies were out that night, why shouldn't the Devil take a trip too?

LTS


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Michaelmas customs
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 01 Oct 07 - 04:06 PM

Hey Greg, is the Something More Offensive anything like what blackbirds do to your car after eating said berries? Packie had a great descriptive phrase for it but it's unprintable.

Thanks so much for the kind words, Mike - I live in rural Ireland now (in a farmhouse that I've just learned is pre-Famine) so I don't really get to things that side of the water like I used to, but am hoping to come over at some point in the future. It's been way too long -


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