British Popular Customs Present And Past - online book

A calendar of the traditional customs, practices & rituals of the British Isles.

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Sept, 28.]                    Michaelmas eve.                               375
In Laud's diary occurs the following: " [1635] Sept. 24th, Scalding Thursday."
This was probably a homely term for the day of preparation for that high-day Michaelmas, when the victim goose was scalded, plucked, and hung-—a week's hanging is the rule for a goose.—N. & Q. 3rd #., vol. iv. p. 441.
Sept. 28.]              MICHAELMAS EVE.
A curious custom once existed at Kingston, viz., that of the congregation cracking nuts during the performance of divine service on the Sunday next before the eve of St. Michael's Day : hence the phrase," Crack-Nut Sunday." This custom is considered by some to have had originally some connection with the choosing of the bailiff and other members of the corporate body on St. Michael's Day, and of the usual civic feast attending that proceeding. It would seem, however, from the following passage in Goldsmith's Vicar of Wake­field (chap, iv.), that the custom was not confined to Kingston; for the good vicar, speaking of his parishioners, says:— " They kept up the Christmas carol, sent true-love-knots on Valentine morning, ate pancakes on Shrovetide, showed their wit on the first of April, and religiously cracked nuts on Michaelmas eve."—Brayley, Topographical History of Surrey, 1841, vol. iii. p 41.
The last Sunday of summer has been, heretofore, a day of great importance with the Irish, as upon it they first tried the new potato, and formed an opinion as to the prospects of
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