Today is Michaelmas day so we decided to visit Little Moreton Hall and join in the fun of the Michaelmas Mop Fair. Michaelmas takes its name from the feast of St Michael the Archangel. In Tudor times Michaelmas was the celebration of the end of the harvest and over four days the change of the season was celebrated.
Michaelmas was also one of the quarter days on the year's calendar so it was the time of year when tithes were paid, when rent was due and when servants were hired and paid. Some people who didn't have money paid with a fattened goose.
It was also a time of feasting and geese became the favourite as they were fat and ready to eat at this time of year. It was thought it was lucky to eat goose at Michaelmas and many Goose fairs were held at this time of year too, some towns and cities like Nottingham still have their Goose Fairs although quite different now.
In the dining parlour was the Grateful Goose! There is an old saying 'He who eats goose on Michaelmas Day, shan't money lack or debts pay.' As this one was made of paper I don't think he will make the dining table except as a centre piece.
The tradition of hiring servants at Michaelmas led to the creation of 'Mop Fairs' where prospective servants would seek out work by walking about carrying or wearing a symbol of their trade. I chose to carry the symbol of a milk maid and Paul that of a baker. Paul was hired and given a ribbon to say he was employed, there were enough milk maids so I didn't get employed! We were told it was almost a death warrant to not get employed as it could lead to absolute destitution. Oh, dear!!
No fattened goose for me at the Mop Fair festivities!
There were plenty of others activities and interesting costumed people to talk to.
You could make corn dollies ........ if only you could find the corn dolly maker
Ah, there he is!
and here is one of the milkmaids who did get employment!
We had a lovely afternoon, the sun shone for most of the time.
People were lunching outside. We sat in and ate tasty cheese and chutney sandwiches with a mug of coffee. As usual I took far too many photos so below is a little collage of some of the other things that caught my eye.
Happy Weekend, everyone!