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A few Traditions, Customs and other stuff about the first month of the year. Earliest Roman calendars contained only ten months starting with March, the first two months as we now know them being added laterby Numa Pompilous, January originally called Januarius was named after the god Janus (latin for door) who has two faces enabling him to see backwards into the old year and forwards to the new one. Oddly though the 1st March still remained as the start of a new year until around 200 years ago.The name of Wolf monath was applied to January by the Anglo-Saxons because wolves visited the settlements searching for food at this time of the year.
First Footing on new years eve was hoped to bring luck for the year ahead, just after midnight a dark haired vistor was to bring a lump of coal (quiet all you greens out there), some bread, some money, and a piece of greenery, these were supposedly the coal to ensure a warm house, the bread so that there would always be food to eat, money for the spending of, and the greenery in the hope of a long life. As they left the visitor removed from the house some ashes or dust as a sign of the old year leaving.
Medieval new years day practice was to stick a flat cake on the horns of a cow, then sing and dance around it, if the cake fell forwards of the cow a good year was forcast likewise the opposite if it fell behind.
The 13th heralds St.Hilary's feast day which has gained a reputation as the coldest day of the year due to past events. 1086 a great frost spread all over the country starting on St.Hilary's day. In 1205 a very severe winter started on or near to the 13th, the river Thames froze and ale and wine went solid and were sold by the weight of them.A chronicle states that the freeze lasted till March 22nd and because the farmers could do nothing with the land the price of food in the summer months was sky high.
Between 1550 and 1750 the climate was so cold it was called the Little Ice Age the Thames froze every year and in some cases for three months.Frost fairs were held from c1608 till the final one in 1814 which lasted only four days but included an elephant crossing the river below Blackfriars bridge.
St Agnes Eve on the 20th was the day the unmarried women made preparation to dream of their future husbands these included moving pins from a pin cushion to their sleeve whilst reciting the Lords Prayer. Not eating and drinking all day, walking backwards up the stairs to bed, and eating a piece of dumb cake (made with friends in silence hence the name ) before going to bed. It is said that looking at the years first full moon through a unwashed new silk hankerchief the number of moons that you can see is the years before you will marry, but it is unlucky to look at the new moon through a window. Yet another way to dream of the man you'll wed is to stand over the spars of a gate or stile and look at the first full moon of the year saying : All hail to thee moon, all hail to thee, I prythee, good moon, reveal to me, this night who my husband shall be.
Twelfth Night the 5th is the eve of Epiphany which marks the end of the Christmas festivities also called Twelfthtide or Twelfth day eve.
Epiphany the 6th was known as Old Christmas Day, christians celebrate the visit of the Magi (wise men) to the baby Jesus.
St Distaffs Day the 7th also called Plough Monday was the day women returned to work with the distaff (spindle ) and the labourers returned to work in the fields.
Burns Night the 25th celebrating the poet Robert Burns birth in 1759 all of 257 years ago.
The January Gemstone is reputedly : Garnet and the January flower is : The Carnation.
The name February derives from roman februa meaning cleansing or purification and as all you Celts and Wiccans will know is the celebration of the coming of Spring, Saxons also used the term Sol-monath or sprout kale the first being cake month when the gods were presented with cakes, the second noting the emergence of the kale and cabbage plants. The Welsh is " y mis bach " for the little month, It has been called Feverell and Februeer before finally 100 years ago it became February.
The 12th, 13th and 14th of February, are said to be borrowed from January. If these days prove stormy, the year will be favoured with good weather; but if fine, the year will be foul and unfavourable. These three days are called by the Scotch 'Faoilteach', and hence the word faoilteach means inclement or crappy weather.
More folk lore sayings about the weather
Feb the second is Candlemas Eve click on the links for more on this and Year of the Wheel
St Valentines Day (14th) is thought to be the time birds pick their mates it is also said that
The first man an single woman saw this day would be her future hubby and if a woman saw a robin flying about on this day, she would marry a sailor, a sparrow meant a poor man but she would be happy, a goldfinch pointed to rich man.(usually a solicitor-advocate or retired lab chemist)
Kissing Friday (19th) the Friday of Shrove week was up to the 1940's the day when schoolboys could without fear of rejection or punishment kiss the girls of their choice and in Sileby, Leics it was called Nippy Hug Day where men if denied a kiss could pinch the womans behind.
22nd is the scouts and guides Thinking day to remember the Baden-Powells.
29th is of course Leap Day, it is a tradition that women may propose marriage only on leap years. While it has been argued that the tradition was initiated by Saint Patrick or Brigid of Kildare in 5th century Ireland, it is dubious as the tradition has not been attested before the 19th century. Supposedly, a 1288 law by Queen Margaret of Scotland (then age five and living in Norway), required that fines be levied if a marriage proposal was refused by the man; compensation ranged from a kiss to £1 to a silk gown, in order to soften the blow. Because men felt that put them at too great a risk, the tradition was in some places tightened to restricting female proposals to the modern leap day, February 29th, or to the medieval leap day, February 24th.
According to Felten: "A play from the turn of the 17th century, The Maydes Metamorphosis, states 'this is leape year/women wear breeches.' A few hundred years later, breeches wouldn't do at all: Women looking to take advantage of their opportunity to pitch woo were expected to wear a scarlet petticoat—fair warning, if you will."
In Denmark, the tradition is that women may propose on leap day February 24th and that refusal must be compensated with 12 pairs of gloves, whilst in Finland the tradition is that if a man refuses a woman's proposal on leap day, he should buy her the fabrics for a skirt.
Leap years are needed to keep our calendar in alignment with the earth's revolutions around the sun, the reason Why is .........
The vernal equinox is the time when the sun is directly above the Earth's equator, moving from the southern to the northern hemisphere.
The mean time between two successive vernal equinoxes is called a tropical year–also known as a solar year–and is about 365.2422 days long.
Using a calendar with 365 days every year would result in a loss of 0.2422 days, or almost SIX hours per year. After 100 years, this calendar would be more than 24 days ahead of the season (tropical year), which is not desirable or accurate. It is desirable to align the calendar with the seasons and to make any difference as insignificant as possible.
By adding a leap year approximately every fourth year, the difference between the calendar and the seasons can be reduced significantly, and the calendar will align with the seasons much more accurately.
(The term "day" is used to mean "solar day"–which is the mean time between two transits of the sun across the meridian of the observer.)
MUCH More on this at Time and Date.com
and finally Famous birthdays in Feb are Robert Peel (5th), Charles Dickens (7th), Thomas Edison (11th), Charles Darwin also the Old Mans (12th), George Handel and Samuel Pepys (23rd).
The name March is from the Roman Martius, originally of the Roman calendar and was named after the roman god of war Mars. The Anglo-Saxons called the month Hlyd monath which means Stormy month, or Hraed monath which means Rugged month.If Easter should fall on Lady Day (25th) then some disaster will shortly follow:
'When March comes in like a lion it goes out like a lamb ' is probably the most famous and popular saying but why ? Some authorities believe that the lion and lamb saying has a heavenly connection. The constellation Leo, the lion, is rising in the east at the beginning of March, hence the “comes in like a lion,” while Aries, the ram, sets in the west at the end of March, and so “will go out like a lamb.”
The last three days of March were said to be borrowed from April. ‘March said to April, I see 3 hoggs (hoggets, sheep) upon a hill; And if you’ll lend me dayes 3 I’ll find a way to make them dee (die). The first o’ them wus wind and weet, The second o’ them wus snaw and sleet, The third o’ them wus sic a freeze It froze the birds’ nebs (noses) to the trees. When the 3 days were past and gane The 3 silly hoggs came hirpling (limping) hame.”
The Tichborne Dole is a tradition and dates back to the thirteenth century, it takes place in the village of Tichborne every year on March 25th. The story goes that in the 12th century the pious Lady Mabella Tichborne was nearing the end of her days, weakened by a wasting disease. She was a gentle and pious creature, in contrast to her soldier husband Sir Roger. Mabella asked him to donate land to provide an annual dole for the poor of the district, but his response was far less charitable: her bequest would be however much land she could circumnavigate with a burning torch in her hand, so long as the torch was alight.
Undaunted Mabella had her bed taken outside, and then crawled around 23 acres with the lighted torch held in her weakening grasp. The field to this day is known as ‘the crawls’, (though I can't find it on the os maps of the area).Fearing Sir Roger would renege on the agreement Mabella added a curse: if the dole should cease the house would crumble,and after seven sons in one generation and seven daughters in the next, the line would end.
The custom is certainly ancient – it is depicted in a painting of 1671 by a Flemish artist, van Tilborgh. For centuries 1,400 loaves would be distributed to local villagers, but in 1796 the custom was stopped by the authorities as beggars and ne’er-do-Nodialwells from all over the area disrupted the ceremony with their greedy and threatening demands. Sure enough, the family luck changed. In 1803 part of the old building collapsed. Sir Henry Tichborne, who succeeded to the baronetcy in 1821, sired seven daughters, and he was one of seven sons. Various male relatives met untimely ends. The house and land passed to Edward, Sir Henry’s brother, who fearing the curse, revived the custom in 1835, and it has continued since then.
These days the villagers of Tichborne, Cheriton, and Lane Ends gather on Lady Day, with their sacks and pillow-cases to receive their entitlement, now doled out as self-raising flour from the local mill, blessed before distribution by the parish priest: a gallon for every adult, and half a gallon for every child – enough for cakes and pies through the whole year.
March 1st : St David's Day - Patron Saint of Wales one story about St David tells how he was preaching to a huge crowd and the ground is said to have risen up, so that he was standing on a hill and everyone had a better chance of hearing him.
On the 3rd Collop Monday large pieces of fried meat were traditionally ate. Shrove Tuesday 4th (pancake day) in the week called Shrovetide is the day before the start of Lent the forty days of fasting up to Easter. As it was considered the last time for a while that a big scoff could be had the Scots boiled up a great pan of broth, doughnuts for the bergers of Hertfordshire, Lincolnshire dished out frying pan pudding, and in Cornwall pea soup, and of course the most eaten food on the day was pancakes.
The 5th Ash Wednesday had a tradition in the playgrounds of carrying a piece of Ash tree in your pocket or tucked into your sock, persons without this requirement would have their feet trodden on. Also : St Piran's Day - St Piran is the most famous of all the Irish saints who came to Cornwall and is said to have discovered tin, celebrations are held all over the county.Legend tells us that St.Piran sailed to Cornwall on a millstone tied around his neck, as he was thrown off the cliff there was a bolt of thunder and lightning and as he reached the sea the storm suddenly abated, the sun came out and St.Piran could be seen seated on the millstone which was now floating on the surface of the water.He sailed across to Cornwall and landed between Newquay and Perranporth at Perran Beach, to which he gave his name, Piran built himself a small chapel in Penhale sands and his first disciples were said to be a badger, a fox and a bear.
March 14th : Mothers Day - the fourth Sunday of Lent celebrated since at least the 16th century. It was the one day in Lent when the fasting rules were relaxed, in honour of the 'Feeding of the Five Thousand', from the bible. Exactly how the name was coined is not known but one theory is that the celebration could have been adopted from a Roman spring festival celebrating Cybele, their Mother Goddess, the day is also called Simnel Sunday because of the tradition of baking Simnel cakes. The Simnel cake is a fruit cake with a flat layer of marzipan (sugar almond paste) is placed on top of and decorated with 11 marzipan balls representing the 12 apostles minus Judas, who betrayed Christ.If it was not eaten on Mothering Sunday because of Lent, it was saved until Easter Day.
‘I’ll to thee a Simnell bring ‘Gainst thou go’st a mothering, So that, when she blesseth thee, Half that blessing thou’lt give to me.’ Robert Herrick 1648
March 17th : St Patrick's Day - Patron Saint of Ireland. Saint Patrick, is credited with bringing Christianity to Ireland and driving the snakes from Ireland. He was born in Wales somewhere around AD 385. He was carried off by pirates and spent six years in slavery before escaping and training as a missionary, He died on 17th March in AD 461 and this day has since been commemorated as St. Patrick’s Day.
3rd - Alexander Bell, inventor of the telephone was born in 1847
15th - This date was the 'Ides of March' in the Roman calender, Julius Caesar was murdered on this date in 44 BC.
22nd - English football league formed in 1888
29th - Coca-Cola was introduced on this date in 1886.
31st - The Eiffel Tower in Paris was officially opened in 1889
Gemstone: Bloodstone Flower: Jonquil
The Anglo-Saxons called April Oster-monath or Eostur-monath. The Venerable Bede says that this month is the root of the word Easter, speculating that the month was named after a goddess Eostre whose feast was in that month. Traditionally it is from the Latin aperire, "to open," in allusion to its being the season when trees and flowers begin to "open," which is supported by comparison with the modern Greek use of ἁνοιξις (opening) for spring. Since most of the Roman months were named in honor of divinities, and as April was sacred to Venus, the Festum Veneris et Fortunae Virilis being held on the first day, it has been suggested that Aprilis was originally her month Aphrilis, from her Greek name Aphrodite (Aphros), or from the Etruscan name Apru. Jacob Grimm suggests the name of a hypothetical god or hero, Aper or Aprus.The Finns called (and still call) this month Huhtikuu, or 'Burnwood Month', when the wood for beat and burn clearing of farmland was felled.(info:Wiki)
When streams are ripe and swelled with rain
May she will stay
Resting in my arms again
June she'll change her tune
In restless walks she'll prowl the night
July she will fly
And give no warning to her flight
In August away I must
The autumn winds blow chilly and cold
September I remember
A love once new has now grown old
The Cuckoo arrives some time in mid April, and alledgely sings from St.Tiburtius' Day (14th Apr) to St John's Day (24th Jun), but Worcestershire there is a saying that the cuckoo is never heard before Tenbury fair (Apr 21st), or after Pershore fair (Jun 26th).Cuckoo days and fairs are held in various locations around the country. Marsden Cuckoo Day in West Yorkshire is an annual traditional festival that celebrates the arrival of spring. According to a local legend, Marsdeners used to try to prolong the cuckoo's stay by building a wall around its nest. Heathfield Cuckoo Fair in East Sussex is an annual tradition of releasing a cuckoo to mark the beginning of summer. A tale of Heathfield Fair depicts an old woman releasing the Cuckoo from her basket, whereupon he flies up England carrying warmer days with him. Downton Cuckoo Fair is an annual traditional event held on the greens of the picturesque village of Downton, south of Salisbury, Wiltshire. The fair marks the opening of the gate to let the cuckoo through.
DAYS OF NOTE: Easter days (2014) Maundy Thursday 17th, Good Friday 18th, Easter Sunday 20th & Monday 21st usually fall in April.
The 1st Sunday in April is called Daffodil Sunday. In Victorian times families picked daffodils from their gardens and took them to local hospitals to give to the sick.
April 14th Tiburtius' Day of which it was said that should you hear the cuckoo sing on St. Tiburtius' Day, you should turn over all the money in your pockets, spit and not look at the ground! If you do this and are standing on soft ground when you do it, you will have loads of good luck. But if you are standing on hard ground - the cuckoo's call means bad luck.
April 15th is 'Swallow Day' in England , the date on which returning swallows were traditionally seen again.
April 19th was celebrated as Primrose Day in memory of British Prime Minister, Benjamin Disraeli, who died on this day in 1881.
April 23th St.George's Day the Patron Saint of England.
April 24th St Marks Eve with its superstition that the ghosts of those who are doomed to die within the year will be seen to pass into the church.
April 1st 1969 Concorde's maiden flight.
April 2nd 1805 Hans Christian Andersen (d1875) was born in Denmark.
April 6th 1909 Robert Edwin Peary reached the North Pole.
April 8th Buddhists use this day as a flower festival to celebrate the birth of the Buddha.
April 9th 1806 Isombard Kingdom Brunel (G.W.Railway) born.
April 12th 1961 Yuri Gagarin made the first flight into space.
April 12/13th Thai New Year in Thailand, Lao New Year in Laos, Khmer New Year in Cambodia.
April 15th 1912 R.M.S. Titanic sank.
April 16th 1889 Charlie Chaplin born.
April 20th Adolph Hitler, Grumpenberger(Thomas Joseph Nodial), and Auntie Mean born.
April 21st Queen Elizabeth II born.
April 1584 Shakespeare's Birthday (d Apr 1613).
April 25th 1953 DNA was discovered by James Watson and Francis Crick.
April 26th 1957 First broadcast of "The Sky at Night"
April 27th 1791 Samuel Morse born.
Gemstone: Bloodstone Flower: Jonquil
First called May in about 1430 before then it was called Maius, Mayes, or Mai. It was named for the Greek goddess Maia, identified in Roman mythology with Maia Maiestas (also called Fauna, Bona Dea (the 'Good Goddess') and Ops), a goddess who may be equivalent to an old Italic goddess of spring the 1st and 15th of May were sacred to her. The Anglo-Saxon name for May was Tri-Milchi, in recognition of the fact that with the growth of fresh new grass cows could be milked three times a day, it is also a time of great celebrations in the northern hemisphere.
May was considered unlucky for getting married or washing apparently
Marry in May and you'll rue the day.
Being born in May was thought to produce a sickly child.
Never buy a broom in May or wash blankets.
If you wash a blanket in May, you'll wash one of the family away.
Those who bathe in May, will soon be laid in clay.
Unlucky days are 3rd, 6th, 7th, 13th, 15th and 20th.
First thing in the morning on May 1st, young girls used to rush out into the garden to wash their faces in the May dew. There is an old tale that says that May dew has magic properties and that anyone who has washed their face in it will have a beautiful complexion all through the year. This dew was supposed to be able to remove freckles and also spots and pimples.
Oak Apple Day also known Pinch-Bum or Nettle Day in some areas is the day that traditionally people wear oak apples or oak leaves pinned to them to remember that on May 29th King Charles ll returned triumphantly to London after the restoration of the monarchy in 1660. The reason for the wearing of oak apples or oak leaves was to celebrate the King's narrow escape from capture by Cromwell's soldiers by hiding in an oak tree. Until well into the twentieth century, anyone caught not wearing an oak leaf or oak apple on 29 May could be pinched, kicked, or otherwise abused also whipping with nettles was a favourite punishment.(Who does that remind you of)
Arbor Tree Day , on the last Sunday in May, is the Sunday nearest to Oak Apple Day. In Aston-on-Clun in Shropshire, a large tree standing in the centre of the village is decorated with flags on the last Sunday in May. The flags stay on the tree until the following May. Aston-on-Clun is the only place in the UK that still marks this ancient tradition. People say that in 1786 the local landowner John Marston married on May 29th and, when passing through the village, saw the villagers celebrating Arbor Day. The bride thought that the tree looked so beautiful covered in flags, that she gave money to the village to allow the custom to continue.
5th May - 1930 Amy Johnson the first woman to fly solo England to Australia.
6th May- 1840 The first Penny Black stamp, became valid for use in the UK.
6th May - 1954 Roger Bannister ran a mile in less than four minutes.
8th May - 1945 VE (Victory in Europe) Day.
12th May - 1820 Florence Nightingale was born.
15th May -The Romans believed this was the birthday of Mercury.
18th May - 1955 The first Wimpy Bar opened in London.
18th May - 1991 Helen Sharman became the first British woman in space.
21st May - 1946 Bread rationing introduced in the UK.
28th May - 1908 Ian Fleming, author of the James Bond books, was born.
29th May - 1953 Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay climbed Everest.
30th May - 1431 Joan of Arc was burned at the stake.
30th May - 542 Death of King Arthur.
June takes its name from the Roman goddess Junno, the goddess of marriage, Sera monath (Dry month) was the name the Anglo-Saxons gave to the month hence:
June damp and warm, does the farmer no harm.
A calm June puts the farmer in tune.
A dry May and a leaking June, make the farmer whistle a merry tune.
Mist in May and heat in June will bring all things into tune.
It is better to be a young June-bug than an old bird of paradise.
In June, when there is no dew, it indicates rain.
If it rains on the feast of St. Medard (8th), it will rain forty days later;
but if it rains on St. Prottis (I9th), it will rain for the next forty days.
Rain on St. Barnabas’ Day (11th) is good for grapes.
If St. Vitus’s Day (15th) be rainy weather, it will rain for thirty days together.
If it rains on June 27th, it will rain for seven weeks.
Rain on St Peter and Paul (29th) will rot the roots of the rye.
5th June - World Environment Day.
6th June - D Day in 1944.
10th June - First Oxford v Cambridge boat race in 1829.
12th June 1929 - Ann Frank born.
12th June - The Queen's Official Birthday.
15th June 1215 - King John signed the Magna Carta..
18th June 1815 - Battle of Waterloo.
19th June 1829 - Police force formed by Robert Peel in London.
20th June - Feast of St. Alban. The first British martyr.
21st June - The Summer Solstice - Longest hours of daylight
24th June - Midsummer Day / feast of St. John the Baptist. The feast of St. John the Baptist is unusual in the Christian calendar as it commemorates his birth and not his martyrdom / death.
28th June 1834 - Coronation of Queen Victoria.
Once known as 'Quintilis', as it was the fifth month of the Roman year. The name 'Julius', later 'July' is believed to derive from the honour of the Roman Emperor 'Julius Caesar', named by Mark Anthony. It is the seventh month of the year. As part of the seasonal calendar July is the time of the 'Hay Moon' according to Pagan beliefs and the period described as the 'Moon of the Red Cherries', and 'Moon when Cherries are Ripe' July was also known as:
'Hooymaand' (Hay month) Old Dutch.
'Moedd-monath' (Meadow month, cattle were turned into the meadow) 'Lida oeftevr' (Second mild/genial month) Old Saxon.
The Anglo-Saxon names for the month included Heymonath or Maed monath, referring respectively to haymaking and the flowering of meadows.
The last month of 'Beltane', before 'Lammas', July is more commonly associated with the healing properties and sanctity of water. Perhaps this is due to the knowledge that July is a month of warmth, of the sun, the scorching heat, and the dryness of the land that comes with the dreaded drought. Man, being so much water, has understood only to well how water is such a vital resource for the body and the spirit. It is no surprise then that water and springs have been universally included in many beliefs, legends and folklore, seen as sacred.There are many instances of this in the teachings of the Celtic church and of the severed head being connected to many of the sacred wells. The head was seen by the Celts to be the place where the soul existed (we can see similarities here with Aries and the head being the power source). The head being detached from the body was seen as the final act of sacrifice given by the sacred king in Celtic mythology, and in the early Celtic church. Placing the head in water was seen to draw on the strength and wisdom of the sovereign, believing that it flowed forth into the waters. The appearance of a new spring at a site where a king or saint died was also common. The Druids believed that the appearance of a new spring or well indicated a spot where man would find a place acting as an opening or bridge to eternity. It has been suggested also that these sacred sites indicated where the power of light, of positive forces could enter and spring out of the earth Water and wells have also been associated with providing the opportunity to reach eternal life, seen as a sign or mark of that belief when drunk or carried.The Chalice Well, at Glastonbury, Somerset, England (See Mystical WWW Glastonbury) is one such site visited by thousands of people, being associated with the Celtic cult of the severed head and the Holy Grail. Perhaps connected with this was the belief that sacred waters could also heal sickness, especially of the eye. Wells were viewed as having power of time as well as eternity as has been said here. To have full effect on curing the malady, the person drinking the water had to sleep immediately. Here again we have associations with the many stories that describe man waking by water having received prophetic visions or wild terrifying dreams. The rituals of Well dressing are still widely practised, which is believed to originate from the placing of prayer rags by pilgrims to sacred sites (See Mystical WWW Mystical Time : Months January - December for dates, & Folk Calendar). In the medieval Middle Ages the use of water as a vehicle for asserting that negative forces, even the Devil existed, was used most effectively by the Catholic church during the Inquisition. Those considered to be in league with such forces were cast into water; should the person float it was taken as proof of their rejection of God, (but we must remember that to prove the presence of God the person should not float which surely resulted in many innocents being drowned).
Celtic : The severed head of Conaire.
'He gives a drink,
he saves a king,
he doth a noble deed.'
If the first of July it be rainy weather,
'Twill rain more or less for four weeks together.
In July, shear your rye.
St. Swithin's Day, if it do rain, for forty days it will remain.
St. Swithin's Day an' it be fair, for forty days 'twill rain nae mair.
A shower of rain in July,
When the corn begins to fill,
Is worth a plough of oxen,
And all belongs theretill.
In this month is St Swithin's Day,
On which, if that rain, men say,
Full forty days after it will
For more or less some rain distill,
Till Swithin's Day is past and gone
There may be hops, or there may be none.
River Thames, between Sunbury and Pangbourne. Two of the oldest London Guilds, the wine merchants and the Dyers, take to their boats to try to catch the swans on the Thames. All the swans on the river belong to the queen, except for those marked on their beaks, which belong to the Dyers and Vintners. "Upping" means turning the bird’s upside-down, to establish ownership of the cygnets by inspecting their parents. After swan-upping, the Dyers and Vintners settle down to a banquet of roast swan. The custom dates back to the 14th century.
This three day fair begins on the first Tuesday after 19 July. The town crier officially opens the fair by parading down the High Street with a golden glove at the end of a long pole decorated with garlands of flowers and announcing:'Oyez, Oyez, Oyez!
Grotto Day/St James' Day
Children used to make grottoes and caves and decorate them with sea shells because the scallop shell is supposed to be the emblem of St. James.The grottoes were placed outside the homes and the children would sit by them and say:
Whitstable Oyster Festival.
The English Oyster season officially begins on St James' Day. Whitstable Bay, on the north Kent coast, is famous for its oysters. It has been associated with oysters for hundreds of years. An old Kentish tradition says that Julius Caesar was drawn to Britain by the Whitstable oysters. On St. James's Day the locals hold an annual oyster festival, an event dating back to at least the early 19th century when it was the custom for fishers and dredgers to celebrate with an annual ceremony of thanksgiving.
First Saturday of the month: Rush-bearing
Great Musgrave and Ambleside, Cumbria. In the Middle Ages, before carpets, rushes were used as floor-covering. Many villages held a special summer ceremony when the rushes were harvested.
In some villages, they made rush sculptures, called bearings, and carried these in a procession. Rush-bearings are still popular in Cumbria and other parts of north-west England.
19th July Little Edith’s Treat Piddinghoe, Sussex.
Children at Piddinghoe enjoy a special tea and sports on this day. The custom began in 1868, when a baby called Edith Croft died. Edith's grandmother put up the money for a treat for the village children in Edith's memory.
20th July St Margaret's Day Gloucestershire.
St Margaret was once a very popular saint - she had the nick name of St Peg. People believed that doing honour to Peg would bring them God's protection against illnesses and evil spirits. St Peg’s day was traditionally celebrated with a plum pudding called Heg Peg Dump.
25th July Ebernoe Horn Fair Ebernoe, Sussex.
A ram is roasted and a cricket match is played between Ebernoe and a nearby village. The ram's horns are presented to the batsman who makes the most runs.
31st July Start of oyster season.
It is said that if you eat oysters today, you'll have plenty of money during the year to come.
1st July 1937 999 emergency service introduced.
2nd July 1928 Equal voting rights are granted to women in Britain.
3rd July 1938 The Mallard broke the speed record for steam engines, 126 mph.
12th July 1690 Battle of the Boyne – Northern Ireland.
13th July National Day Northern Ireland.
15th July St Swithin's Day.
21st July 1837 Euston Railway Station, London's 1st is opened.
21st July 1969 Apollo 11 landed on the Moon.
25th July St James Day, patron saint of pilgrims.
25th July St Christopher's Day. Patron Saint of Travellers.
28th July 1586 The first potatoes arrived from Columbia.
28th July 1901 First fingerprints used for identification.
August, the eighth month derives its name from Augustus (Augustus Caesar).During the month of August, is Lammas, one of the four Grand Sabbats celebrated each year by Wiccans and modern Witches throughout the world.
The Anglo-Saxons called it Weod monath, which means Weed month, because it is the month when weeds and other plants grow most rapidly.
The Chinese have a day devoted to love. Qi Qiao Jie, or the seventh eve, is often referred to as Chinese Valentine's Day. While the annual gift giving commonly associated with St. Valentine's Day doesn't take place, there are legends surrounding the origins of Chinese Valentine's Day, that involve the position of the stars on the seventh day of the seventh month in the Chinese lunar calendar. According to one the seven daughters of the Goddess of Heaven caught the eye of a Cowherd during one of their visits to earth, the daughters were bathing in a river and the Cowherd, Niu Lang, decided to have a bit of fun by running off with their clothing. It fell upon the prettiest daughter (who happened to be the seventh born), to ask him to return their clothes. Of course, since Niu Lang had seen the daughter, Zhi Nu, naked, they had to be married. The couple lived happily for several years. Eventually however, the Goddess of Heaven became fed up with her daughter's absence, and ordered her to return to heaven. However, the mother took pity on the couple and allowed them to be reunited once a year. Legend has it that on the seventh night of the seventh moon, magpies form a bridge with their wings for Zhi Nu to cross to meet her husband. - Rhonda Parkinson and Night of Sevens (Qi Xi, Qi Qian Jie).
If the 24th (Bartlemas Day) be fair and clear, then hope for a prosperous Autumn that year.but if this day be misty, beginning with a hoar frost, the cold weather will soon come, and a hard winter follow.
After Lammas corn ripens as much by night as by day.
Observe on what day the first heavy fog occurs, and expect a hard frost on the same day in October.
If the first week in August be unusually warm, the winter will be white and long.
The English winter, ending in Aug ............ To recommence in August. - Lord Byron.
"Fairest of the months! Ripe summer's queen
The hey-day of the year with robes that gleam with sunny sheen
Sweet August doth appear." - R. Combe Miller.
1st August is Lammas Day, and is Harvest time, the name comes from an Anglo-Saxon word Hlafmaesse which means ' Loaf Mass '. The festival of Lammas marks the beginning of the harvest, when people go to church to give thanks for the first corn to be cut. This celebration predates our Christian harvest festival.On Lammas Day farmers made loaves of bread from the new wheat crop and gave them to their local church. They were then used as the Communion bread during a special mass thanking God for the harvest. The custom ended when Henry VIII broke with the Catholic Church, and nowadays we have harvest festivals at the end of the season. Michaelmas Day (29th) is traditionally the last day of the harvest season.
Lammas Day used to be a time for foretelling marriages and trying out partners. Two young people would agree to a trial marriage lasting the period of the fair (usually 11 days) to see whether they were really suited for wedlock. At the end of the fair, if they didn't get on, the couple could part.
Lammas was also the time for farmers to give their farm workers a present of a pair of gloves. In Exeter, a large white glove was put on the end of a long pole which was decorated with flowers and held on high to let people know that the merriment of Lammas Fair was beginning.
To bring good luck, farmers would let the first corn bread go stale and then crumble it over the corners of their barns.
Edinburgh Festival in Scotland,dating from 1947, the Edinburgh Festival is a celebration of the performing arts, with live concerts, plays, ballets, operas and other shows.
Royal National Eisteddfod in Wales the Eisteddfod is an older tradition, revived in the 19th century. It originated as a medieval gathering of bards and minstrels, attended by people across Wales, who competed for the prized chair at the noble's table. Held during the first week of August, it celebrates Welsh arts and culture.
Knighthood of Southampton Old Green Championship Bowls started to be played on the Southampton Old Bowling Green in 1299, making it the oldest bowling green still in use in the world. The club that plays there now is believed to have been established in the 17th Century and hosts an annual competition known as the Knighthood. The rules for the competition date from that era, and the games are supervised by ‘Knights’. The winner is made a Knight-of-the-Green and can never enter the competition again. The competition has been known to last ten days. Weekend closest to the 5th.
First Monday after the 12th August Marhamchurch Revel in Marhamchurch, Cornwall Marhamchurch was founded as a monastic settlement by St. Morwenna and every year the ancient Revel is held to celebrate the Saint's good works. A Queen of the Revel is elected from the village and crowned by Father Time in front of the church where St. Morwenna's cells once stood. A procession, led by the newly crowned Queen riding on horseback, passes through the village to the Revel Ground. Here the villagers are entertained with a show of Cornish wrestling and other amusements.
Second Friday of August Burry Man’s Parade, South Queensferry, West Lothian. This pagan ceremony dates back to a time before records began and its origins and purpose have been lost in the midst of time. A local man is covered in burrs (from the burdock plant) and is paraded around the town. It's thought the parade was to ward off evil spirits - it can certainly ward off children who are said to be terrified at the very look of the Burry Man.Perhaps we should have one for the close.
Saturday closest to the 24th "Burning Bartle" West Witton, Yorkshire At West Witton, people make a straw dummy called Bartle, carry him through the town in a procession, and burn him on a bonfire. Nobody knows for sure how this custom started. So who was Bartle? The original Bartle may have been a local thief who was burned at the stake.
Last Sunday of August Plague Sunday Service, Eyam, Derbyshire.
It's now hard to imagine that the beautiful village of Eyam in Derbyshire, could have such a fascinating, yet tragic story to tell. However, at the end of August 1665 bubonic plague arrived at the house of the village tailor, via a parcel of cloth from London. The damp cloth was hung out in front of the fire to dry, thus releasing the plague infested fleas. George Vicars, the tailor and first plague victim, died on the 7th September, of a raging fever. The plague took hold and quickly began to take its toll, however the brave villagers decided to stay within the confines of the village to stop the spread of the disease. To minimize cross infection, food and other supplies were left outside the village. The Plague raged for 14 months and claimed the lives of at least 260 villagers. Eyam's selfless villagers had prevented the plague from spreading to other parishes, but many paid the ultimate price for their commitment. Almost 350 years later a remembrance service is still held every Plague Sunday at Cucklett Delf, Eyam.
2nd Aug 1875 First roller skating rink opened in the UK .
3rd Aug 1492 Columbus set sail on his first voyage, finishing up at the Canary Islands.
4th Aug 1914 The First World War started.
6th Aug 1762 The sandwich was named after the Earl of Sandwich, the Earl asked for
meat to be served between slices of bread, to avoid interrupting a gambling game.
6th Aug 1962 Jamaica gained independence after being a Colony for over 300 years.
8th Aug 1963 The Great Train Robbery.
12th Aug 1960 The first communications Satellite, Echo 1, launched at Cape Canaveral.
13th Aug 1941 Josef Jakob, a German spy during WW II, is the last person to be
executed at the of Tower London.
13th Aug 1964 Last executions before the abolition of capital punishment - Peter Allen is hanged at Walton Prison, Liverpool, and John Walby at Strangeways Prison,
Manchester - both convicted murderers.
15th Aug 1945 World War II : VJ Day - Victory over Japan.
15th Aug 1947 India and Pakistan gained independence from Britain.
18th Aug 1941 National fire service established.
22nd Aug 1863 International Red Cross founded in Geneva.
22nd Aug 1483 Battle of Bosworth Henry VII beat Richard III.
24th Aug 79AD Mount Vesuvius erupts near Pompeii, southern Italy. Although roughly
half the citizens of Pompeii escaped toward the sea, more than 2,000 people were buried under seven feet of molten lava, ash, and pumice.
26th Aug 1936 BBC transmits the first high-definition television pictures.
27th Aug 55BC Official date for the Roman landing in Britain by Julius Caesar accompanied by 10,000 men of the 7th and 10th Roman Legions.
27th Aug 1966 Francis Chichester left Plymouth, aboard the Gypsy Moth IV on the first successful attempt to sail single handed around the world.
31th Aug 1997 Queen elect Di snuffs it in a car accident in France.
The Romans believed September was looked after by the god, Vulcan the god of the fire and forge they associated it with fires, volcanic eruptions and earthquakes.
The Julian Calendar was 365.25 days long, which was fractionally too long, and the calendar over time fell out of line with the seasons.In 1752 Britain decided to correct this by abandoning the Julian calendar for the Gregorian. By doing so, the 3rd of September instantly became the 14th of September which left an eleven day hole from the 3rd to the 13th in British history.
Fair on September first, fair for the month.
September blows soft, 'till the fruit's in the loft.
September dries up wells or breaks down bridges.
St.Matthew Day (21st) brings cold, rain and dew.
If the north wind blows on Michaelmas Day (29th), October month is sunny & gay.
If St Michael brings many acorns, Christmas will cover the fields with snow.
If the hart and the hind meet dry and part dry on Rood Day fair (25th), for six weeks, there'll be nae main.
If dry be the buck's horn' On Holyrood morn, 'Tis worth a kist of gold; But if wet it be seen, Ere Holyrood e'en, Bad harvest is foretold.
The first snow comes six weeks after the last thunderstorm in September.
A wind in the south, has rain in her mouth.
The story goes that The Devil's Nightcap (there are several hills with this name) near Alcester, in Warwickshire, was formed when the devil was out nutting on September 21st (known as the Devil's Nutting Day) and met the Virgin Mary. He was so surprised and shocked that he dropped his bag of nuts, which became the hill. There is an old Sussex saying 'as black as the Devil's nutting bag', which is associated with the superstition that it is extremely unwise to gather nuts in autumn on a Sunday because that is when Old Nick is himself out nutting. Generally people do not go nutting on any Sunday in autumn because you might meet the devil gathering nuts.
Tribute to Oliver Cromwell: Houses of Parliament. Each year on the anniversary of Cromwell's death, September 3rd, the Association holds an annual service of commemoration by the statue that stands by the Palace of Westminster. The service is only open to members of the Association, but the service can be observed from the pavement, which overlooks the statue. In 2008 the service had special significance as it marked the 350th anniversary of Cromwell’s death.
NB. In 1661, Oliver Cromwell's body was exhumed from Westminster Abbey, and was subjected to the ritual of a posthumous execution, as were the remains of John Bradshaw and Henry Ireton. (The body of Cromwell's daughter was allowed to remain buried in the Abbey.) Symbolically, this took place on 30 January; the same date that Charles I had been executed. His body was hanged in chains at Tyburn. Finally, his disinterred body was thrown into a pit, while his severed head was displayed on a pole outside Westminster Hall until 1685. Ironically the Cromwell vault was then used as a burial place for Charles II’s illegitimate descendants. Afterwards the head changed hands several times, including the sale in 1814 to a man named Josiah Henry Wilkinson, before eventually being buried in the grounds of Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, in 1960.
Crying the neck
Madron Old Cornwall Society celebrated the ancient custom of Crying the Neck at Boswarthen. The origins of the custom are obscure. However, it is said that in days gone by the whole of the reaping of the corn had to be done with a hook or scythe. The harvest often lasted for many weeks. When the last handful of standing corn was cut, the reaper would lift up the bunch high above his head and call out: “I ‘ave’n, I ‘ave’n, I ‘ave’n.”
The reply by the rest of the workers was: “What have ’ee?” “What have ’ee?” “What have ’ee?”
The reaper would then shout: “A neck” to which the rest would cheer and then go on to celebrate the end of the harvest.
Horn Dance ~~~~ Abbots Bromley.
The Horn Dance has been described as ‘possibly the oldest surviving ceremony in Britain’. It is know that the dance was performed at the Barthelmy Fair in August 1226, however the reindeer antlers that give the dance its name suggest a much earlier origin, possibly a Druidic or Viking rite. A carbon-dated fragment of horn revealed a date of 1065 ± 80 years. Today the Horn Dance takes place annually on Wakes Monday. After collecting the horns from the church at 8 o’clock in the morning, the Horn Dancers, comprising six Deer-men, a Fool, a Hobby Horse, a Bowman and Maid Marian, perform their dance to music at various locations around the village and surrounding countryside. By the time they return to the village green that evening, the Horn Dancers will have walked and danced over 10 miles.
More at : www.abbotsbromley.com/horndance.htm .
Royal Highland Gathering, Braemar, Grampian.
Whilst there have been Gatherings at Braemar since the days of King Malcolm Canmore, nine hundred years ago, today’s Gathering, organised by the Braemar Royal Highland Society, has been around for a mere 188 years. Large crowds gather each year to acclaim their Monarch as Chieftain of the Braemar Gathering. International athletes take part in the "heavy" and "track" events, encouraged on by the customary Scottish Massed Pipe Bands. www.braemargathering.org
**** Widecombe Fair **** Widecombe-in-the-Moor, Devon.
Widecombe village fair probably began as a simple market, but has grown over the years into a local institution, with pony shows, races, competitions, sheep and cattle shows, sideshows, etc. The fair was made famous by the well-known folksong 'Widecombe Fair' and the misadventures of one Uncle Tom Cobley and All. The words for the folk song were first published in 1880 by the vicar of a nearby parish, after he heard them sung by an old countryman: ’Tom Pearse, Tom Pearse, lend me your grey mare, …For I want to go to Widdecombe Fair’.
Clipping the Church, Painswick, Gloucestershire.
The people of the pretty Cotswold town "clip" or hug the church. Local children wear flowers in their hair, everyone joins hands to create a chain all around St. Mary's parish church, and they all sing a special clipping hymn on or near St Mathew’s Day (21st). Folklore holds that the churchyard will never have more than 99 yew trees and that should a 100th grow the Devil would pull it out. The latest count of trees showed there to be 103.
World Gurning (Face–Pulling) Championship Egremont, Cumbria.
The event has been running as part of the 'Crab Fair & Sports' since 1267. Gurning represents everything that is quirky and British. Crab Fair Day features other such famous events as climbing up the greasy pole to try and get the leg of lamb nailed at the top, street races, a fun fair and in the evening at the Market Hall the World Gurning Championships. Contestants have to try and pull the ugliest face with their heads stuck through a horse's braffin or collar.
Toward the end of the month Election of Lord Mayor, Guildhall, London Not to be confused with the Mayor of London (Greater London), the Lord Mayor of London is the Mayor of the City (the square mile) of London. The first recorded Lord Mayor of London was Henry Fitz-Ailwyn in 1189. Since then, some 700 men and one woman have held the position. The most famous of them all is Dick Whittington, who held office three times, in 1397, 1406 and 1419. Contrary to popular belief, Dick Whittington was not a poor, ill-treated orphan who managed against all the odds to work his way up to the top job, he did in fact come from a very wealthy family and was a successful businessman before becoming Lord Mayor.The right of London citizens to elect their own Mayor dates from a Charter granted by King John to the City in 1215, the same year as Magna Carta.
Feast of St. Michael (Michaelmas)
There are seven Archangels in all, but only the three mentioned in Sacred Scripture are commemorated liturgically; St. Gabriel's Feast is on 24 March, and St. Raphael's Feast is on 24 October (the Guardian Angels are remembered on 2 October. The other archangels, whom we know from the Book of Enoch, are Uriel, Raguel, Sariel, and Jeramiel.) September, though, we honor St. Michael the Archangel, whose very name in Hebrew means, "Who is Like God."
St. Michael is patron of knights, policemen, soldiers, paramedics, ambulance drivers, grocers, also danger at sea, for the sick, and of a holy death. He is usually depicted in art carrying a sword and/or shield, battling Satan.Widely popular in the middle ages, he was depicted in art as a winged young man clad either in white robes, or in armour. St Michael was given his own feast day by Pope Gelasius in AD 487, afterwards several apparitions of Michael were reported from around the world. One was in the 8th century at what is now Mont Michel in Normandy, France and another at St Michael's Mount in Cornwall, England.
According to an old Irish folk tale, blackberries were supposed to have been harvested and used up by this date, too, since it is told to children that when Satan was kicked out of Heaven, he landed in a bramble patch -- and returns each year to curse and spit on the fruits of the plant he landed on, rendering them inedible thereafter.
1st Sep 1971 Thrupenny piece coins, cease to be legal tender. 2-6th Sep 1666 Great Fire of London. 3rd Sep 1939 The Second World War started.
When berries are many in October, Beware a hard winter.
Many haws, Many snaws; Many sloes, Many cold toes.
If the oak bear much mast (acorns) it foreshows a long and hard winter.
Winter thunder, Rich man's food and poor man's hunger.
A hard winter follows a fine St.Denis.(9th)
There is often fair weather around this day, known as “St.Luke’s Little Summer”(18th)
Often bad weather, the end of St.Luke’s Little Summer.(28th)
If the October moon is without frost, expect no frost till the November moon.
A peal of eight bells hangs in the tower and is associated with the story of William Davies who, with his horse, was saved by hearing the sound of the bells (see below). He endowed an annual dinner for the ringers', which is held to this day. There is a noble yew tree which graces the Churchyard. It is reputed to be 1000 years old, though considered by experts to be somewhat less. Even so, it is the oldest and most magnificent clipped yew tree in the country. On that dark October night in 1754 William Davis became lost in the Hampshire countryside. He was just about to ride his horse over a cliff when the sound of Twyford’s church bells rang out. As they did so William realised he was heading in the wrong direction and pulled up to take stock. It was then he noted he was on the edge of a deep quarry and had he not stopped would have plunged to certain death. In gratitude he left a pound for a peal of bells to be rung annually with a feast provided for the bell ringers. The funds ran out long ago but the tradition remains.
Feast day of St Keyne(13th), St Keyne's Well, near Liskeard, Cornwall.
The most famous holy well in Cornwall is named after Keyne (Cain Wyry – Cain the virgin) (461-505), a Celtic saint who lived in the 5th century. She was the daughter of Brychan, the English King of Brecknock. Keyne dedicated her life to bringing Christianity to the West Country. Legend recalls that she planted four trees around this well – an oak, an elm, a willow and an ash – and as she was dying, she imparted to its waters a strange power.St Keyne", quoth the Cornishman, many a time drank from this crystal well, and before the Angels summoned her, she laid on the water a spell. " If the husband of this gifted well shall drink shall drink before his wife, a happy man henceforth is he, for he shall be master for life. But if the wife should drink of it first, God help the husband then" The stranger stooped to the well of St Keyne, and drank of the water again. "You drank of the well I warrant betimes?" he to the Cornishman said: but the Cornishman smiled as the stranger spake and sheepishly shook his head. I hastened as soon as the wedding was done, and left my wife in the porch but I faith she had been wiser than me, for she took a bottle to church. It is believed that after a wedding the first of the bridal pair to drink from the well would be the dominant partner.
‘A well there is in the west country, And a clearer one never was seen,
There is not a wife in the west country but has heard of the well of St Keyne’.
- Robert Southey (1774 - 1843), English poet.
St. Edward’s (The Confessor) Day, Westminster Abbey, London
A special service (13th) commemorates the last Anglo-Saxon king and the Abbey founder. He earned the pious nickname ‘The Confessor’ partly for his monk-like qualities of generosity to the poor and partly due to his unconsummated marriage to Queen Edith.
One of the more famous legends associated with the king recalls when he was riding by a church in Essex and an old man asked for alms. As Edward had no money to give he removed a large ring from his finger and gave this to the beggar. A few years’ later, two pilgrims were travelling in the Holy Land and became stranded. They were helped by an old man and when he knew they came from England he told them that he was St John the Evangelist and asked them to return the ring to Edward telling him that in six months he would join him in heaven. Edward died shortly afterwards, in 1066, to be followed by the ill-fated Harold.
St Jude’s Feast Day.(28th)
Saint Jude of Thaddaeus, a blood relative of Jesus, being the nephew of Mary and Joseph. He preached in Judea, Syria, Mesopotamia, Libya and Persia, where he was beaten to death and beheaded. He is the Patron Saint of lost or desperate causes because of his New Testament letter which called upon the faithful to persevere in adversity.The Apostle Jude, in his own Epistle, gives himself the title: "brother of James", which is the meaning of the name Thaddeus (or Lebbeus) by which Jude was also known. Probably no saint, after the Blessed Mother, has drawn such enthusiastic followers down through the centuries as St. Jude he was one of the chosen 12 Apostles; his brother was James the Less. Not too much is actually recorded about his life: it seems his big popularity began after his death.
Through history, legend and tradition, however, we can construct some details concerning St. Jude he comes from the line of David and is a cousin of Jesus Christ. The Jewish people, proud of their lineage, kept exact records of their ancestors, and we see that St. Jude's father, Cleophas, was the brother of St. Joseph. St. Jude's mother, Mary of Cleophas, was a cousin of the Blessed Virgin Mary: their mothers were sisters.
Saint Jude Thaddeus is "The Miraculous Saint," the Catholic Patron Saint of "lost causes" and "cases despaired of."When all other avenues are closed, he is the one to call upon, and his help often comes at the last moment. Some traditions say that he was martyred in Persia and that his body was placed in a crypt in St. Peter's Basilica. Other traditions say that he brought Christianity to Armenia with Saint Bartholomew and that he was martyred in Armenia. There is no independent evidence for any of this.
'Mop' or Hiring Fairs.
The custom remains today in some towns and villages around the country. Several towns in Warwickshire enjoy the spectacle and the fun from the holding of the annual mop fair.In Stratford, which is home to one of the country's biggest fairs, the mop became a funfair after World War I. On the first morning of the fair, which is almost always on or near 12 October, children of the town go on the rides of the funfair free of charge.
Last Thursday of the month Punky Night, Hinton St George, Somerset.
This tradition goes back over 100 years, when it is said that the men from Hinton travelled to the fair at the nearby village of Chiselborough. When they didn't return as promised, the women of the village went looking for their husbands with mangold lanterns. A mangold is a crop grown by farmers for cattle feed - a cross between a turnip and a pumpkin. The women pulled these up from the fields, carved them out and put candles in them to shed light, and then walked the four miles to Chiselborough, in search of their drunken husbands. To commemorate the event local children still hollow out their mangolds, carving designs or faces onto the outside. In the evening candles are lit and the punky’s are paraded through the village.
Feast of St. Raphael's (24th)
The name of this archangel (Raphael = "God has healed") does not appear in the Hebrew Scriptures, and in the Septuagint only in the Book of Tobias. Here he first appears disguised in human form as the travelling companion of the younger Tobias, calling himself "Azarias the son of the great Ananias". The story of the adventurous journey during which the protective influence of the angel is shown in many ways including the binding "in the desert of upper Egypt" of the demon who had previously slain seven husbands of Sara, daughter of Raguel, regarding the healing powers attributed to Raphael, we have little more than his declaration to Tobit (Tobit, 12) that he was sent by the Lord to heal him of his blindness and to deliver Sarah, his daughter-in-law, from the demon prince(Asmodeus) that was the serial killer of her husbands. Among Catholics, he is considered the patron saint of medical workers, matchmakers, & travellers and may be petitioned by them or those needing their services. After the return and the healing of the blindness of the elder Tobias, Azarias makes himself known as "the angel Raphael, one of the seven, who stand before the Lord" (Tobit 12:15. Cf. Revelation 8:2). Of these seven "archangels" which appear in the angelology of post-Exilic Judaism, only three, Gabriel, Michael and Raphael, are mentioned in the canonical Scriptures. The others, according to the Book of Enoch (cf. xxi) are Uriel, Raguel, Sariel, and Jerahmeel, while from other apocryphal sources we get the variant names Izidkiel, Hanael, and Kepharel instead of the last three in the other list.
The eve of All Souls Day also coincides with the ancient festival of Samhain, which marked the last day of the Celtic year, when the Festival of the Dead took place. The day of the year when demons and evil spirits were free to roam and the night when witches gathered to hold their most important sabbats. Bonfires were lit as protection and charms placed in barns to safeguard livestock. It was believed that the dead returned on Hallowe’en, hence it was once the custom to leave doors open and food on the table to nourish the souls of recently departed family members.
1st Oct 1870 The first official issue of the post card was made by the Post Office together with the introduction of the halfpenny postage stamp. 1st Oct 1908 The first Model T Ford. 1st Oct 1974 McDonald's, opens its first British outlet in London. 1st Oct 2000 Last commercial Hover Craft flight across the English Channel. 2nd Oct 1925 The first of London's red buses allowed to be used. 3rd Oct 1906 S.O.S. was established as an international distress signal 3rd Oct 1959 The Post Code was first used at Norwich. 3rd Oct 1990 East & West Germany re-unite as the Berlin Wall Falls. 4th Oct 1905 Orville Wright became the first to fly an aircraft for over 33 minutes. 4th Oct 1226 Death of St. Francis of Assissi's now his Saint's day. 6th Oct 1769 Captain James Cook, on the 'Endeavour' discovers New Zealand. 10th Oct 1881 The Savoy Theatre, is the first public building lit by electricity. 11th Oct 1968 Apollo 7 1st manned mission was launched from Cape Kennedy. 11th Oct 1982 The Mary Rose Henry VIII's flag ship, raised 437 years after sinking . 12th October Columbus Day in USA. 13th Oct 1884 Greenwich Mean Time started. 14th Oct 1066 The Battle of Hastings King Harold Killed by William T ' Conqueror. 14th Oct 1884 Photographic film patented. 14th Oct 1926 Winnie-the-Pooh was first published, by A.A. Milne (1882-1956). 16th Oct 1958 Blue Peter' is first broadcast. 18th October St Lukes Day. 20th Oct 1966 The first message was sent between two computers in California. 21st Oct 1805 The Battle of Trafalgar. 23rd Oct 1642 The Battle of Edgehill between the Cavaliers and the Roundheads. 24th October United Nations Day. 25th October St Crispin's Day, Patron Saint of Shoemakers. 25th Oct 1415 The Battle of Agincourt fought. 25th Oct 1854 Charge of the Light Brigade, Battle of Balaclava.Cpt Nodial's last ride. 25th October Feast of St. Jude. 31st October All Hallows Eve.
Many British folklore customs are of Celtic origin. The Celts divided their year by four great festivals, starting with Samhain, signifying the arrival of winter and the New Year, which fell on 1st November. Imbolc was next and occurred on 1st February, followed by Beltane on 1st May and Lugnasdh on 1st August.
If the wind is in the south-west on St Martins Day (11th), it will stay there right through to Candlemas thus ensuring a mild and snow-free winter, but Wind in the north-west at Martinmas, severe winter to come.
If ducks do slide at Martinmas
At Christmas they will swim;
If ducks do swim at Martinmas
At Christmas they will slide.
Ice before Martinmas,
Enough to bear a duck.
The rest of winter,
Is sure to be but muck!
Thunder in November means winter will be late in coming and going.
If the leaves of the trees and grape vines do not fall before Martins Day, a cold winter may be expected.
A warm November is the sign of a bad Winter.
Flowers bloomin' in late Autumn,
A sure sign of a bad Winter coming.
As high as the weeds grow,
So will the bank of snow.
The first week of November has always been a time of festivals and celebrations marking the end of the harvest and beginning of Winter.
All Saints Day or All Hallows Day
All Saints' Day used to be known as All Hallows (Hallow being an old word meaning Saint or Holy Person). The feast day actually started the previous evening, the Eve of All Hallows or Halloween. In the year 835 AD the Roman Catholic Church made 1st November a church holiday to honour all the saints called All Saints' Day on which, Christians remember all the saints, great ones and forgotten ones, who have died through the ages.
All Souls' Day - 2 November On All Souls' Day the Roman Catholic Church remembers all those who have died - not just the great and the good, but ordinary man-in-the-street. Families visit graves with bunches of flowers and in church the names of the dead may be read out on request. In some parts of the country, All Souls' Day ends with a play or some songs.
Mangalore November 1, 2009: Like every other religion in India, Catholic Christians observe All Souls Day in memory of all the faithful who are deceased, every year on November 2. All Soul’s Day which follows All Saints Day, is also known as the Feast of All Souls or Day of the Dead. This is a day of remembrance for friends and loved ones who have passed away. All religions like Hinduism, Christianity and Islam have their own customs for their dead people. It is a beautiful way of remembering those who have died ahead of us.
Most of the customs are same in Hinduism and Christianity as they both celebrate all souls day in their own ways. During Mahalaya the Hindus call their dead to their houses and feed them and a month after the Christians during the All Souls day go to the cemeteries of their parishes and offer prayer to the souls that have departed. A day before every parishioner goes to the cemetery and clean the cemetery of weeds and on the day of all souls they come back spend sometime near the graves of their loved ones, light candles, offer them goodies made in their houses and some elders also recite one or two qualities of the dead member of their families to the young generations. It is like re-kindling the bondage between the dead and the living.© mangalorean.com
All Souls Day Tradition :
According to tradition, a pilgrim returning from the Holy Land took refuge on a rocky island during a storm. There he met a hermit, who told him that among the cliffs was an opening to the infernal regions through which flames ascended, and where the groans of the tormented were distinctly audible. The pilgrim told Odilo, Abbot of Cluny, who appointed the following day (2 November 998) to be set apart for 'all the dead who have existed from the beginning of the world to the end of time'. The day purposely follows All Saints' Day in order to shift the focus from those in heaven to those in purgatory.
All Souls' Day Superstition :
it was believed that All Souls' night was when the dead revisited their homes, so lit candles were left out to guide them and meals and wine were left as refreshment.
Soul Cakes :
Before the Reformation, it was customary for poor Christians to offer prayers for the dead, in return for money or food from their wealthier neighbours.
During the 19th and 20th centuries children would go 'souling' - rather like carol singing - requesting alms or soul cakes :
A soul, a soul, a soul cake.The 'Soulers' would go around the houses singing this song often joined by the hobby horse - only at this time of the year, he is called the Hooden Horse. A Soul Cake is like a hot cross bun but without the currants or the cross on top.
Mischief Night :
The 4th November is called Mischief Night in some parts of the country. This was the night when all sorts of naughty things were done - the main idea being to put things in the wrong place.
Guy Fawkes Night ( Bonfire Night -- 5th ) :
Bonfire Night is the most widespread and flourishing of all British customs. The day was declared a holiday by decree of Parliament after it was saved from being blown up in the Gunpowder Plot of 1605 in which Guy Fawkes and other like-minded Catholics plotted to blow up the Houses of Parliament and King James l, on the day the king was to open Parliament. Until 1859, all parish churches were required to hold services on this day; and celebrations were heard throughout the land, with bells ringing, cannons firing and beer flowing.
For the last 400 years, effigies of the pope and now more often Guy Fawkes or other 'hated' figures are burned on top of large bonfires, as they burn spectacular fireworks displays are let off. As in 1605,a new session of Parliament in London is still opened by the reigning monarch at the beginning of November. unless there has been a general election in the same year, when the opening of Parliament is in May.
Martinmas Day (11th) Rememberence Day :
The Feast of St Martin, Martinmas was a time for celebrations with great feasts and hiring fairs, at which farm labourers would seek new posts. It was also the time when autumn wheat seedling was usually completed in many places, including the south of Derbyshire where it was the farmer's custom to provide a cakes-and-ale feast for workers. These special cakes were made with seeds and whole grains, and called Hopper Cakes. Beef was the day's traditional meat dish to be eaten on Martinmas, Since 1918 the 11th has been commemorated as Rememberence Day also called Armistice Day, and all the old Martinmas celebrations have disappeared. St. Martin of Tours(Sint Maarten in the Netherlands and Sankt Martin in Germany); this is celebrated with parades in which the children carry lanterns as they go from door to door singing traditional songs for candy, which tradition arises from the same roots as trick-or-treating on Halloween, when people used to go around collecting "soul cakes". The parades usually feature a man in the costume of a Roman centurion on a horse and end with a reenactment of the old legend of the Saint dividing his cloak to share it with a beggar.
Stir Up Sunday :
The last Sunday of the Church Year, or the Sunday before Advent, is often called Stir-up Sunday, it is the traditional day for everyone in the family to take a turn at stirring the Christmas pudding, whilst making a wish.
1st November All Saints' Day.
A mild December precedes a cold snap later in the winter:
"A green December fills the graveyard"
"A clear star-filled sky on Christmas Eve will bring good crops in the summer."
"If sun shines through the apple trees upon a Christmas Day,
When autumn comes they will a load of fruit display."
"Snow on Christmas means Easter will be green."
"A green Christmas; a white Easter."
"If Christmas day be bright and clear
There'll be two winters in the year."
"The nearer the New Moon to Christmas Day, the harder the Winter."
"If New Year's Eve night-wind blows south,
It betokeneth warmth and growth;
If west, much milk, and fish in the sea;
If north, cold and storms there will be;
If east, the trees will bear much fruit;
If north-east, flee it, man and brute!"
"Marry on December third For all the grief you ever heard "
Christmas pudding : A Christmas pudding should be made with 13 ingredients to represent Jesus
and His Disciples and that every member of the family should take turns to stir the pudding with a
wooden spoon from east to west, in honour of the Wise Men.
If you take a candle to church, don't bring it home, blow it out and leave it with the vicar for good luck.
"On Christmas Eve all animals can speak." However, it is bad luck to test this superstition.
"The child born on Christmas Day will have a special fortune."
"Wearing new shoes on Christmas Day will bring bad luck."
"Good luck will come to the home where a fire is kept burning throughout the Christmas season. "
If a girl raps at the henhouse door on Christmas Eve and a rooster crows, she will marry within the year.
The Pagan celebration of Winter Solstice (also known as Yule) is one of the oldest winter celebrations in the world. It is a celebration of the shortest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere, when the North Pole is at its furthest point away from the sun (the sun is directly overhead the Tropic of Capricorn 23.44 ° south of the Equator ) .
The Druids would cut the mistletoe that grew on the oak tree and give it as a blessing. Oaks were seen as sacred and the winter fruit of the mistletoe was a symbol of life in the dark winter months.
The Celts thought that the sun stood still for twelve days in the middle of winter and during this time a log (known as the Yule log) was lit to conquer the darkness, banish evil spirits and bring luck for the coming year.Yule logs are traditionally lit on the first day of the Solstice and are burned throughout the Solstice night for 12 hours as a symbol of hope and belief that the sun will return.
Many ancient sites, such as stone circles in Britain and Ireland, align themselves with the sun on the shortest day. Long Meg, the tallest stone in the Maughanby stone circle, Cumbria, aligns with the setting sun on the winter solstice.
The last rays of the setting sun shine passes down a passage from the entrance to the inside wall at Maeshowe tomb on mainland Orkney
Maeshowe tomb The Maeshowe cams, go live on 1 December. Images will appear from 09:00 to 16:00 GMT each day (outside camera) and 14:00 to 16:00 GMT (inside cameras) If the inside images are dark there is no light in Maeshowe.
Advent is not widely celebrated in England, it originated in Germany, although in the church calendar Advent is the official start of the run up to Christmas. Two traditions are the Advent calendar and the Advent candle, the Calendar originated from the protestant area of Germany where families made a chalk line for every day in December until Christmas Eve. Printed calendars then replaced the chalk lines, usually a thin rectangular card with 24 or 25 doors behind which there is a Christmas scene or a chocolate.
An Advent candle often has 25 marks on it, a bit of the candle is burned down by one mark each day. In some homes, 24 candles are kept, one for each night from December 1 through Christmas eve. One candle is lit for a while on December 1, then a new candle is added each day for the 24 day period. However, it is now more common to have four candles for the four weeks before Christmas. One candle is lit on the first Sunday, two the second week and so on. The candles were often placed on a wreath upon the dining room table. Advent candles are lit in many homes, schools and churches, in England, with a final central candle lit on Christmas Day; these are often on a hanging decoration known as an "Advent Crown."
The origins of the now traditional Christmas Celebration, distinct from earlier pagan winter holidays, date to sixth century England. By the middle ages, it was a well established important holiday, with traditional pageantry, customs, music and feasting all its own. Customs from pre Christian days were incorporated into the Celebrations, and many still remain. However in 1647, the English parliament passed a law that made Christmas illegal, all festivities were banned by the Puritan leader Oliver Cromwell, who considered feasting and revelry on what was supposed to be a holy day to be immoral. The ban was lifted only when Cromwell lost power in 1660.
In Britain, the Holy Days and Fasting Days Act of 1551 (which has not yet been repealed) states that every citizen must attend a Christian church service on Christmas Day, and must not use any kind of vehicle to get to the service There are a large number of Britons who break this law every year. The law may have been intended to encourage humility by forcing even the wealthy to attend the church on foot, or perhaps it was simply to avoid the traffic and parking crush that universal attendance would otherwise have brought about.
During Queen Victoria's reign, Christmas became a time for gift giving, and a special season for children. Boxing Day celebrated on December 26th, is traditionally a time to give gifts to tradesmen, servants, and friends.
It originated in medieval times, when every priest was supposed to empty the alms box of his church and distribute gifts to the poor. Wealthy people indulged in huge Christmas feasts, and when they were finished, packed up the remains of feasts in boxes and gave them out to their servants. It didn't become widely celebrated though until Victorian England.
In Ireland there is an Irish custom called "feeding the wren". The custom is based on a legend of St. Stephen. Once he was forced to hide in a bush, but a chattering wren gave him away. In the past Children caged the wren to help it do penance for this misdeed. Nowadays children carry a long pole with a holly bush at the top - which is supposed to hide a captured wren.
The sixteenth century saw England first officially celebrate the Twelve Days of Christmas from the 26th to January 6th. Shakespeare's Twelfth Night premiered in the first year of the seventeenth century, in a performance at the court of Elizabeth the First.
During the ancient 12-day Christmas celebration, it was considered unlucky to let the log in the fireplace stop burning. This log was called the Yule log and would be used to light the fire in New Year, to ensure that good luck carried on from year to year. The Yule Log custom was handed down from the Druids, but with the advent of gas and electric fires it is rarely observed nowadays.
Another custom in medieval times, was to hide a dried bean in a cake, the cake was then eaten on Twelfth Night (January 6), during the most boisterous party of the year. The finder of the bean became "King of the Bean" and ruled the party for the night.
Another eating myth is that for every mince pie you eat over the 12 days of Christmas you will have a month of good luck the following year
According to A Celebration and History, by Leigh Grant, the written lyrics to "The Twelve Days of Christmas" first appeared in Mirth without Mischief in the early 1780s in England. Grant states that the tune to which these words are sung apparently dates back much further and came from France. Mirth without Mischief describes "The Twelve Days of Christmas" as a type of memory game played by children at that time. A leader recited the first verse, the next child recited the second verse, and so on until someone missed a verse and had to pay some kind of penalty in the game. There was no religious significance. At anyrate the popular urban myth makes a good story... at least as good as the song itself, so here is a slice of urban myth culture for you: A very famous song about this time of year is "The Twelve Days of Christmas", which has a very interesting history. During the period 1558 to 1829 Catholics in England were prohibited from any practice of their faith by law - private or public. It was a crime to be a Catholic. Some people say that the song was written to help young Catholics learn the tenets of their faith during that period when to be caught with anything in 'writing' indicating adherence to the Catholic faith could not only get you imprisoned, but could also get you hanged, drawn and quartered! The song's gifts are allegedly hidden meanings to the teachings of the faith. "True Love" mentioned refers to God. "Me" refers to every baptized person, here are the other lyrics and their other hidden meanings. However, some people say this is an Urban Myth, but you can make your own mind up.
1st December 1990 Channel tunnel met 40 meters beneath the English Channel.
1st December 1990 World AIDS Day.
2nd December 1697 Opening of the new St. Paul's Cathedral in London.
3rd December 1795 Rowland Hill, the originator of the Penny Post, was born.
4th December Feast of St Barbara, patron saint of thunderstorms, fire, gunpowder etc.
5th December 1901 Walt Disney was born.
5th December 1958 Prime Minister Harold MacMillan opens Britain's first motorway.
6th December St. Nicholas Day patron saint of children.
13th December 1577 Francis Drake set sail round the world, in the Golden Hind.
13th December St. Lucias Day.
17th December 1903 Wilbur & Orville Wright made the first powered aeroplane flight.
18th December Closing the Gates of Derry pageant held in Londonderry.
21st December 1937 Premiere of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs animated cartoon.
21st December Winter Solstice the first day of the season of winter.
25th December 1642 Sir Isaac Newton was born. He split white light into the colours of the Rainbow.
26th December St. Stephen Day. The first Christian martyr; the patron saint of altar servers.
28th December Holy Innocents Day.
28th December 1065 Consecration of Westminster Abbey.
29th December 1170 St. Thomas Becket, martyred in his own Cathedral.
30th December 1903 First solo powered flight by Orville.
30th December 1865 Rudyard Kipling born in Bombay.