The 29th is the Feast of St Michael and All Angels or Michaelmas, a Quarter Day when farm rents were due, annual employment terms ended, local courts were held and children would finally go back to school after helping with the harvests. In some places it was called Pack Rag Day because the poorest farm labourers would be packing their few possessions to move to a new job.
Two weather sayings for today
As many days old as the moon is at Michaelmas Day, so many floods shall we have after.
St Michael's rain doesn't stay long in the sky
A roast "stubble" goose - fattened from the barley gleanings on the fields after harvest, used to be the traditional meal on this day and it was thought that eating goose on Michaelmas Day would bring financial prosperity in the year to come. The Michaelmas goose tradition was once more important than eggs at Easter.
Whoever eats goose on Michaelmas day, Shall never lack money for his debts to pay
And when the tenants come to pay their quarter's rent,
They bring some fowl at midsummer, a dish of fish in Lent,
At Christmas a capon, at Michaelmas a goose,And somewhat else at New-year's tide, for fear their lease fly loose
Goose Fairs used to be held on this day and geese were walked to the famous fairs. There is a record dating from the C16, of over twenty thousand geese being walked to Nottingham goose fair from Lincolnshire and Norfolk. Their feet were prepared for the long walk by being coated by with a mixture of tar and sand.
|Picture from the Nottingham Hidden History website|
The history of the Goose Fair in Nottingham is HERE.