Thursday, 6 October 2011

Pinch bottom day

I came across the following sentence last night. I find it rather beautiful: it sums up what's interesting and fun about folklore and its research.
'1 May in Fittleworth [Sussex] was once known as "Pinch Bottom Day", although I cannot find out why' (1)
And no, I don't know why, either. Exciting, isn't it?
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1: Tony Wales, We Wunt Be Druv: Songs and Stories from Sussex (London: Galliard & EFDSS, 1976), p. 10.


  1. Reminded me of Stinging Nettle Day in May in some parts of Devon, so I googled it and it was linked with Oak Apple day (29th of May), which is given by quite a few websites as also being called... "Pinch Bum Day"! One says this was because boys who didn't carry oak boys for the commemoration of the restoration of King Charles the 2nd where liable to have their bums pinched in retribution. Not found any proper sources yet but it is a start! A good find...

  2. Stinging Nettle Day was the 3rd of May - involved whipping each other with nettles - I did have some notes about it but cant find them now...

  3. Thanks, these are great. Tony Wales does also record 'Pinching Day' on 29 May. Like the Devon examples, not wearing oak leaves was punished by pinching or being slashed with stinging nettles. The 3rd May celebration sounds interesting, but I haven't seen anything about it yet.

    It may point to practices being shared across events close to each other in time. (That's what I'm talking about in November, looking at events on St Clement's Day and other seasonal events around the same date). I'll keep my eyes open for any other related material.