Monday 13th January is Plough Monday in England! Traditionally Plough Monday (the Monday after Epiphany when The Zoroastrian Magi visited the infant Jesus) is the day for setting aside the remnants and excesses of Christmas and "putting one's hand to the plough"; in other words, starting work on a project of some sort.
A traditional delicacy from Norfolk, eaten on Plough Monday, is known as 'Plough Pudding', which is a boiled meat, onions and suet pudding.
In some areas of the UK, particularly in Northern and East England, traditionally this was the day folk went back to work after the Christmas festivities. There were regional variations in the customs observed on Plough Monday, but commonly a plough would be hauled in a procession from house to house, collecting money. Musicians, such an old woman or a "Bessy" - a boy dressed as an old woman - with a man playing the role of the "fool" would accompany the plough.
Image to the right was scanned by Steven J Plunkett (19th century version by Hablot Knight Browne of an earlier "Twelfth Night Merry-Making in Farmer Shakeshaft's Barn", from Ainsworth's Mervyn Clitheroe, by Phiz.) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Amongst the more bizarre UK traditions, across the Isles of Scilly (off the Cornish Coast), locals would visit their neighbours, cross-dressed, and make jokes about local events. There would be general revelry and dancing in disguise, which became colloquially known as Guise Dancing or Goose Dancing!
Although Plough Monday customs declined over a hundred years ago, in some areas they are being revived, such as at Malden in Essex where Molly Dancing is carried out. This seems to have derived from the recent revival by the Cambridge Morris Men, associated with the Whittlesea Straw Festival (held near Peterborough in Camridgeshire) which is also held to honour Plough Monday.
For a list of Joanna's other forthcoming events, including training courses, mini-workshops and Forest Bathing+ Case Studies, see this January 2020 Harmony Healing Event Update.
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