Saint Distaff’s Day

Hey it’s Saint Distaff’s Day! For those who don’t know what it is, I will try to explain it in this post.

Saint Distaff’s Day, also known as Rock Day, is not a real holiday and has no connection with any saint, but was a day that indicated that the Christmas festivities had ended and was time to return to the normal working days, which mean that was time for the women to return to their drop spindles and spinning wheels (and distaffs of course).

There are references to this day since the 16th century (that I know of) but I think this must go further back in time. There’s a small poem from the 17th century that I really like:

Partly work and partly play
Ye must on Saint Distaff’s Day:
From the plough soon free your team;
Then come home and fodder them.
If the maids a-spinning go,
Burn the flax and fire the tow.
Scorch their plackets, but beware
That ye singe no maiden-hair.
Bring in pails of water then,
Let the maids bewash the men.
Give Saint Distaff all the right,
Then bid Christmas sport good-night.
And next morrow every one
To his own vocation.
(Saint Distaff’s Day or The Morrow After Twelfth Day, by Robert Herrick)

And that’s about it, which means that it’s time for me to do some spinning.


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