20 April 2020 – Hock Monday

Today I resorted to using one of my emergency folklore backups. I have several rainy day ideas stuffed up my sleeve but hadn’t anticipated needing to use one so soon. It’s Hock Monday, part of Hocktide, a period of time that is definitely on the Monday and Tuesday following Easter, but may also include the Sunday, depending on what you’re reading. And while there is quite a bit of folklore on Hock Monday, it does seem to transgress both social distancing and #MeToo with a touch of 50 Shades thrown in, so I thought I’d best leave well alone. On this note, I probably won’t be pelting people with oranges tomorrow either. 

So, with Hocktide abandoned, I had intended to watch a druid broadcast at 8.30pm. However, due to exceptionally bad time management on my part, it was already over by the time I tuned in. Next I was going to follow some Monday folklore rules about washing bedding, only to realise that I’ve already done that (and, rest assured, many times in between). Left with a ticking clock and not enough brain space to learn a new skill, I hastily wished upon a star, or rather Venus as that was the only shiny thing in the sky. 

Now I’ve counted my lucky stars, but never actually wished on them for the project. Ever since I can I remember, on seeing the first star in the sky, I’ve kept my beady eyes on it while reciting:

Star light, star bright, first star I see tonight
I wish I may, I wish I might
I wish to have this wish tonight

And for reasons unknown, I then bob a curtsey and say thank you. And I nearly always wish for the same thing. Which I’m not telling. I don’t know if stars have the same rules as birthday candles but I’m not taking any chances. 

Then for diligence, I thought I should look the rhyme up. Turns out I’ve been saying the last line wrong all this time. I also found that Disney had got it’s hooks into it and added three extra lines. Either way, I’m going to stick with my version. And if anyone else is watching the skies tonight, you might be lucky and catch a falling star as the Lyrid meteor shower is in full swing…


Resources

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

Day, B. (1998) A Chronicle of Folk Customs, London, Hamlyn

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

https://www.timeanddate.com/astronomy/meteor-shower/lyrids.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Star_Light,_Star_Bright

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