The Everyday Lore Project

1 March 2020 – St David’s Day

1 March 2020 – St David’s Day

Today I’ve been hoovering. No, wait! Come back! This was legitimate folklore-activated hoovering! For it’s said that on the first of March, the Devil shakes a bag of fleas at your door. 

I have a long and bloody history with fleas, to the extent that I was identified as the Girl With The Flea-Bitten Legs at a recent 50th birthday party by someone I hadn’t worked with since I was a teenager. I am also that person whose milkshake brings all the mozzies to the yard, and you can be damn certain I’ll be trying out folklore pest control as soon as we slide into midge season. So if the Devil is going to shake a bag of miniature vampires at my door, I’m going to obey the folklore.

Except that would’ve involved getting up before dawn, throwing open my window and shouting ‘Good morning, March!’ to the unwelcoming silence of my neighbours. Then there was the keeping of the windows shut so the fleas couldn’t get in. Well, that didn’t happen either, as I’m not good without a draught. So back to the hoovering. You see on 1 March, another tactic to keep the fleas away is to sweep your front step. Which I also didn’t do, choosing to update the folklore and give everywhere a thorough hoovering instead. For it’s said if you kill one flea in March, you kill a hundred. Not that my vicinity has fleas, believe me, I would know, but you can never be too careful…

And in a nod to St David, for it is also his day today, I made a leek soup. Incidentally, leeks eaten in March are said to ward off evil spirits, a final bop on the nose to those Devil sent bloodsuckers.

The spuds are going great guns! These are before pics, the after ones would have shown a lot more nestling in the soil action.

And lastly, March is supposed to come in like a lion and out like a lamb, or the reverse. I’ve observed both lion and lamb today. But then March is also said to be of many weathers, so who knows. 

Dydd Gŵyl Dewi Hapus!

Ps. If you’ve not already done so, you can read this month’s #FolkloreFOMO post which went up at lunch.


Cooper, Q. and Sullivan, P. (1994) Maypoles, Martyrs & Mayhem: 366 Days of British Myths, Customs & Eccentricities, London, Bloomsbury Publishing Plc

Roud, S. (2006) The English Year: A Month-By-Month Guide To The Nation’s Customs and Festivals, From May Day to Mischief Night, London, Penguin Books

Simpson, J. and Roud, S. (2001) Oxford Dictionary of English Folklore, Oxford, Oxford University Press

Published by Liza Frank

Author of My Celebrity Boyfriend. Obsessed with hula hooping, sons of preachermen and fresh dates, sometimes all at the same time. Curator of Folklore Agony and The Everyday Lore Project.

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