The Everyday Lore Project

21 May 2020 – Ascension Day

21 May 2020 – Ascension Day

Today I hung an egg in my attic. It’s Ascension Day, aka Holy Thursday, aka St Collen’s Day. Ascension Day is known for Beating the Bounds, well dressing, and if it rains today, the water is said to be a curative for eyes, lacklustre bread and general ill health. 

But for reasons I still can’t quite understand, I went for hanging an egg in my attic, for it is said that on Ascension Day hanging an egg in the roof will give the house and those in it protection. Actually, there’s a tiny bit more to the folklore, it’s said that the egg used should be laid today, but only having chickenless friends, I sort of skated over that bit. 

In order to hang my egg, I had to make some sort of a sling. I turned again to macramé, because if it’s good enough to hang a plant, it’s good enough to hang an egg. It took me a while to find a scaled down pattern, but eventually after some very easy and quick knotting I had something that irrationally reminded me of a Lindt chocolate. 

Next was going into the attic. I’ve always found my attic slightly traumatic usually because the only time I ever go up there is when the roof is leaking and I have to slosh buckets full of water back down a rickety ladder. Plus, I’m relatively convinced something lives up there. Like a giant spider. Or a hob. 

With the egg dangling off a finger, I ascended the ladder into a very warm and musty loft. For some reason, I thought there would be a random nail sticking out of a joist, but I couldn’t see one, just webs, clots of dusty webs. So I went back down the ladder to fetch some hardware leaving the egg nestled on an old handbag. Returning, I hammered in a nail, resolutely ignoring what was shaking down on me, and hung up the egg. 

I’m not entirely sure how I feel about having an egg hanging in the attic. If I ever move, I’ll have to decide whether to take it down, or freak out the new occupants. But at least it’ll give whatever creature’s up there some breakfast.

And now we are five.

By the way, how many beans make five? A bean, a bean and a half a bean, a bean, a bean and a half a bean…


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

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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