Plough Monday

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In England, the first Monday after Twelfth Day, January 6, when agricultural labourers return to work and, in many places, when Christmas decorations were taken down. It was also a time when decorated ploughs were paraded through the villages to raise money for the purchase of candles used in blessing the coming agricultural year — a ceremony in which a plough was brought into the church — or just simply for a party to mark the end of the holidays. The men who dragged the plough were called Plough Stots, Bullocks, Jacks or Jags and the implement itself was called the Fool. Should anyone refuse to make a donation the men ploughed up the yard in front of the house in revenge.

The superstitious connection between the plough and the fertility that is desired for the fields is seen in the folk belief that young women who draw the plow or even sit on it or touch it would soon be married and blessed with children. A related custom in Rumania was called plugusorul — boys took decorated ploughs from house to house accompanied by bells and pipers.

Plough Monday in modern England is frequently the occasion for morris-dancing and St. George plays.

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