Holy Rood

(14 September) (HAZEL) It was the custom at one time to go nutting on Holy Rood Day; in fact in some places it was looked on as unlucky not to go (Hull):

Tomorrow is Holy Rood Day, When all a-nutting take their way.

In Glamorgan, large parties of men and boys used to go out nutting, and brought the nuts back to inns well known for keeping up the Mabsant, the Welsh name for a patronal festival. The nuts were portioned out equally among those present, and various games were played involving forfeits, which were paid with the nuts (Trevelyan). But, as is quite normal in folklore, quite the opposite view is held in other places. In Lincolnshire, for instance (Gutch & Peacock), and in Suffolk (Gurdon), it was said that it was the devil who went nutting on Holy Rood Day. At Owmsby, in Lincolnshire, it was believed that nutters going out today would be certain to come to grief in some way or other. And the Michaelmas taboo on BLACKBERRY eating was, in some areas, applied to Holy Rood Day (Banks).

The ecclesiastical symbol of Holy Rood Day, whether the autumn festival, or the spring celebration (3 May), is the BLUE PASSION FLOWER (Passiflora caerulea), with its wider symbolism of Christ's Passion (see EMBLEMS).

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