A tradition dating back to the 15th century, Plough Monday marked the beginning of the new agricultural year in the northern and eastern parts of England, and always fell on the first Monday after Twelfth Day, Epiphany.
Although so many of these “old traditions” don’t fit with our modern lives anymore – I’m not suggesting we haul our ploughs from house to house collecting money, or find a local “Bessy” and “Fool” and resident cow to dress up and dance in the streets, but I think it’s important to at least honour these old customs and traditions with a passing nod and a wink when they come around on our yearly calendars.
There is no doubt we are inching ourselves further away from days like Plough Mondays, to the point where we find little connection to the local around us, a shame on many levels, particularly those celebratory traditions of respecting quality food and connecting ourselves to the seasons. But I know there are like-minded people who are just as intrigued as I am about food history and food culture. And I’m excited to find through my excursions those professionals who are also finding their way back to preserving some of these traditions, too. Maybe not to the extent of celebrating in the streets like the Bessy’s of the past, although who wouldn’t like to be part of something like that.
Right, I’m off. But before I go, what traditions of the past do you wish we still had a closer link to?