St. Agnes’s Day

Storm Christoph slashed its tail last night as it passed over to the North Sea.  I think we got off lightly although the village flood defences kicked in. The rain last evening had turned to snow sometime during the night.

Today is the feast day of St. Agnes. She is the patron saint of chastity, girls, engaged couples, rape victims and virgins. So quite a responsibility then.

There are quite a few superstitions that might help young ladies find a marriage partner. All should take place on St. Agnes Eve and resulted in the dreaming of their future husbands that night. If you’re so inclined then, you’ve missed the boat for this year.

In one, the young lady would take a pincushion full of pins, pulling out each pin and sticking it in her sleeve, all the time saying a pater-noster or the Lord’s prayer. Oh yes, and a variation was that she also had to fast all day and walk backwards upstairs to bed.

Alternatively, if you didn’t fancy playing with pins , you could bake yourself a dumb cake  which is “a salty confection prepared with friends in total silence”. A slice before retiring to bed reciting: “St Agnes, that’s to lovers kind / Come ease the trouble of my mind” will bring dreams of a future love.

North of the border, in Scotland, the tradition is for girls to meet in a field of crops at midnight, throwing grain on to the soil all the while praying:

‘Agnes sweet and Agnes fair,
Hither, hither, now repair;
Bonny Agnes, let me see
The lad who is to marry me.’

Of course, all this preparations would be voided if you walked under any ladder adders, as that “may prevent your being married that year”.

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