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Folklore: Oak Apple Day/Shikshak

Splott Man 17 Dec 15 - 05:50 PM
Paul Burke 17 Dec 15 - 07:22 PM
FreddyHeadey 17 Dec 15 - 08:41 PM
GUEST 18 Dec 15 - 05:45 AM
GUEST 18 Dec 15 - 06:31 AM
GUEST,henryp 18 Dec 15 - 09:08 AM
Snuffy 18 Dec 15 - 12:47 PM
Jack Campin 18 Dec 15 - 01:14 PM
Splott Man 19 Dec 15 - 08:45 AM
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Subject: Folklore: Oak Apple Day/Shikshak
From: Splott Man
Date: 17 Dec 15 - 05:50 PM

I grew up in Surrey, and remember that at school we marked Oak Apple Day, 29 May, by wearing a sprig of oak leaves.

I've been reading Recollections of Old Dorking by Charles Rose, published in 1977, but written during 1876 and 1877, and looking back over the previous 50 years.
He noted that "...sprigs of oak, with the apple on them, were worn in the hats and caps of boys, and the stigma 'shikshak' was tauntingly applied to those who were destitute of the common emblem."

I was intrigued by this, and a quick google revealed that a shikshak is a kind of guru or teacher.

Another bunch of links, obviously quoting a common source, said that Oak Apple Day is called Shikshak or ShickShack Day in Hampshire.

And that's where I reached a dead end.

So... has anyone out there any references or clues as to how or why the word Shikshak got into the mix?
Is it still called that?

I'm intrigued.

Splott man


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Oak Apple Day/Shikshak
From: Paul Burke
Date: 17 Dec 15 - 07:22 PM

wikipedia: "Traditional celebrations to commemorate the event often entailed the wearing of oak apples (a type of plant gall, possibly known in some parts of the country as a "shick-shack")"

"ak" is simply oak, probably. Now find the first bit.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Oak Apple Day/Shikshak
From: FreddyHeadey
Date: 17 Dec 15 - 08:41 PM

idk
my quick google found
"The day is also known as Shick-Shack Day in some parts of England. A Shick-Shack may be a dialect word for Oak apple, possibly Gloucestershire but it has been suggested that in line with other terms for the day relating to the punishment of non-loyalists (e.g. Nettle Day) that it is a reference to a term for dissenters - Sh*t Sack (Foklore 1999)."
http://banjolin.co.uk/folkipedia/index.php?pageName=RoyalOakDay 

and this mentions some other names
https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=_ND2SpImki0C&pg=PT448&lpg=PT448&dq=Castleton


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Oak Apple Day/Shikshak
From: GUEST
Date: 18 Dec 15 - 05:45 AM

I certainly remember, from my childhood in Cheshire, that we commemorated Oak-apple day, although I can't remember any special celebrations other than the idea about wearing a bit of oak with leaves and oak wasp galls. Oak-apples are small spheres of gall tissue produced by the plant in response to a gall wasp laying an egg. The gall then protects the larva. The galls are about a centimetre in diameter. I don't recall them being called Shick-shacks in Cheshire.

I was told that the day celebrated Charles II's escape from the roundheads by hiding in an oak tree – as is mentioned in one of the links above. As I understand it the "badge" was devised when Charles II returned to England to reinstate the royalty. His followers are supposed to have lined the roads between Dover and London wearing sprigs of oak in memory of his escape. In the September, when he's supposed to have hidden, there would have been plenty of leaves on the trees but by May 29th when this celebration occurred perhaps the leaves hadn't come out and the oak galls therefore got caught up in the symbolism; just a thought.

As I said, apart from knowing it as Oak-apple day and seeking out galls I can't remember any special celebrations. Perhaps if someone else can it'll jog my own memory.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Oak Apple Day/Shikshak
From: GUEST
Date: 18 Dec 15 - 06:31 AM

I hadn't realised that any sort of commemoration had survived into the mid 20th century. In the outer London suburb where I was brought up I first heard about Oak Apple Day from reading in my teens (a reference in one of the Hornblower novels I think).


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Oak Apple Day/Shikshak
From: GUEST,henryp
Date: 18 Dec 15 - 09:08 AM

The Free Dictionary says;

Shick-shack Day - The Oxford English Dictionary suggests that this day takes its name from a corruption of shitsack, a derogatory term for the Nonconformists, Protestants who did not follow the doctrines and practices of the established Church of England. It was later applied to those who did not wear the traditional sprig of oak on May 29, or Royal Oak Day — the birthday of Charles II and the day in 1660 on which he made his triumphal entry into London as king after a 12-year interregnum.

Shick-shack has since become synonymous with the oak-apple or sprig of oak itself, and May 29 is celebrated — particularly in rural areas of England — in memory of the restoration of King Charles and his preservation in the Royal Oak. Also called Oak Apple Day, Oak Ball Day, Bobby Ack Day, Yack Bob Day, Restoration Day, or Nettle Day.

Shik-shak does sound like reduplication - the repeating of parts of words to make new forms. There are various categories of this: rhyming, exact and ablaut (vowel substitution). Examples are, respectively, okey-dokey, wee-wee and zig-zag. (www.phrases.org)

Perhaps ack does represent oak. See Bobby Ack Day and Yack Bob Day above. There are several local dialect words for the oak tree; Chitjack, Cups and Saucers, and Oak-mas and plenty of folklore concerning the tree. (Legendary Dartmoor)

Oak Apple Day; Everywhere in England sprigs of oak were worn on 29 May, Oak Apple Day. They were sometimes called chitchat and in Hereford it was 'Chit-chat Day'. According to the English Dialect Dictionary both Chit Jack and Shitsack were in use at Barford, the next village to Wishford. These customs clearly link 29 May with Jack in the Green, Robin Hood, May Day and Summer Finding. (www.odinicrite.org)

So perhaps Chit-Jack and Shit-sack have become confused or combined.

The attendants at Garland Day carry bunches of oak twigs and nettles. You can buy one or receive the other free.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Oak Apple Day/Shikshak
From: Snuffy
Date: 18 Dec 15 - 12:47 PM

During the Commonwealth period the oak had already become a symbol of loyalty to the Crown.

May 29th was not only the day that Charles II re-entered London, it was also his birthday.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Oak Apple Day/Shikshak
From: Jack Campin
Date: 18 Dec 15 - 01:14 PM

New to me, though I did know about Shik Shak Shok. The green clothing is a dead giveaway, it must derive from the Surrey original.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Oak Apple Day/Shikshak
From: Splott Man
Date: 19 Dec 15 - 08:45 AM

I think our teacher did that one, Jack.


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