24 November 2020 – St Catherine’s Eve

Kit be nimble,
Kit be quick,
Kit jump over the candle stick.

Lacemakers’ rhyme

It’s St Catherine’s Eve, or Catterntide Eve. According to Cattern Cakes and Lace, a book on folklore basically named for St Catherine (she’s also the patron saint of lacemakers), it was traditional on St Catherine’s Eve to jump over a candle to predict your future. Many other sources however, have this activity happening tomorrow, on the actual day. But like I said, they named the book after her, so I’m taking their word.

Unlike some of the other sources who stipulate that the candle should be 2ft tall, CC&L just say to use candlesticks. I don’t have candlesticks, but I do have a 2ft tall candle that just happened to fall into my possession after a six month tour of The Duchess of Malfi. But I also know my limitations, and decided against setting fire to myself and/or the house by a failed bound. 

It’s said that if the jumper extinguishes the fire, bad luck will follow. But I was nimble, and I was quick, and I jumped over that candlestick without singe or smother. So I’m good. I hope.

Now I’m off to finish a tradition. Mostly for the last 9 weeks I’ve been watching The Great British Bake Off with GloBarb and Susannah over Zoom, and this 10th week is the final, so the last time we’ll do this. Until next week, of course, when we tune into Masterchef: The Professionals instead.


Resources

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

Jones, J. and Deer, B. (1987) Cattern Cakes and Lace, London, Dorling Kindersley Limited

https://www.livinginseason.com/tag/caterning/

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