#LincsLore roundup for February and March

Here's a compilation of the #LincsLore tweets I put out occasionally, cherry-picking the quirky customs, festivals and country sayings from Lincolnshire's history. This selection pulls together the months of February and March. January's compilation of the same is here.  

February

Feb 10: Lent takes its name from Anglo-Saxon "lencten", meaning to lengthen. "Days lengthen, cold strengthen" is an old Lincs phrase. 

Feb 10: On Ash Wednesday (or the following day, Clerk Thursday), lock-out your schoolmaster until he grants you a half day holiday.

Feb 14: The first unmarried man you see on Valentine's Day will be the one you marry.

Feb 29: Women may propose to men; by leaping on their back. Men accept the proposal by leaping on the woman's back in return.

Feb 29: If a man refuses your proposal he must buy you a silk dress.

March

March. Saxons called the month Lenctenmonath, as the days were lengthening. The Christian term "Lent" comes from this root.

March 1: Gainsborough. The river Trent is a greedy river, taking seven lives a year. Sacrifice a lamb to the river to spare a life.

March 1: "If the fruit trees blossom in March you won't get a crop, and if it blossoms twice a death will occur in the family".

March 2: St Chad's Day. Patron saint of medicinal springs. "Sow your beans on St Chad's day" is considered sound advice.

Mothering Sunday. A day's holiday for apprentices, who would return home.

Mothering Sunday. Also: Apprentice Sunday, Refreshment Sunday, Laetare Sunday, Simnel Sunday. "Mother's Day" = C20 US invention.

Mothering Sunday. A fragment of folk memories of worship of Cybele, mother of the Gods.

March 6: Refreshment Sunday. A day's relaxation from Lenten abstinence. Wild flowers given as gifts. Simnel cake.

March 6: Mid-lent fairs start today: Stamford's dates back to at least 1224. Tradition is that the mayor has the first dodgem ride.

March 17: St Patricks Day was celebrated in expat Irish communities across Lincs (Lincoln, Caistor, Woodhall, Louth).

Palm Sunday. In Lincs, pussy-willow was used for palm. Beat a child with pussy-willow (or "withy"), & you'll stunt their growth.

Palm Sunday: Caistor Gad-Whip: a ceremony involving cracking a whip throughout the morning's service, and 30 pieces of silver.

Caistor Gad-Whip links to a child murder, being an act of penance written into land tenancy; seen as "desecration"  by mid C19.

Spring equinox. Throw a piece of silver into the Eagre tidal bore at Gainsborough to prevent you from being drowned that year.

I was away from home over the Easter weekend and so didn't have the reference work used to source the bulk of these sayings. That book, by the way, is A Lincolnshire Calendar by Maureen Sutton and is a fine repository of Yellowbelly arcana.