The Everyday Lore Project

28 September 2020 – Michaelmas Eve

28 September 2020 – Michaelmas Eve
Are you seeing that face too?

There’s no getting round my serious lack of commitment this Michaelmas Eve. Oh, I made a struan Micheil after 8hrs hunched over my computer. And I chanted progeny and prosperity of family, Mystery of An Dagda, protection of Bride, as I kneaded it and progeny and prosperity to clans Frank, Watson, Walker and Howarth, Mystery of An Dagda, shielding of Bride as I shaped it. And I marked it with a heart. And I nearly set off the fire alarm for the second time tonight burning the offering on the hob before chanting here to thee, rascal; stay behind me, stay from my kine, rascal being the Devil, and throwing the smouldering lump over my shoulder into the sink. 

Yes I did all that, but it felt like my heart wasn’t quite in it. Like I kept having to apologise to the deities I was invoking as I hadn’t thought to figure out how to pronounce their names before I was knuckle deep in dough. And speaking as one with a name nobody gets right first time (unless they’re a Cabaret fan), that pained me. It’s also the eldest daughter who should be making the struan, and I’m the youngest. So a fraud from the outset. 

Not to mention, really not cooking the struan right. I took the non-yeasted way (for obvious reasons), but I buggered the bannock as I didn’t have the baking knowledge to back me up when I couldn’t make sense out of the perfectly sensible recipe. It should have turned out a bit like a battered flat rock cake. Instead it was just a very heavy frisbee of dough with a weird treacle crust.

But I didn’t break it (bad luck, shouldn’t be used). But I did taste it tonight. My recipe said best eaten straight from the oven, while another source said it’s eaten for breakfast on Michaelmas. So I want with inauthenticity and chewed my way through a perfectly pleasant slice that tasted of caraway and mixed fruit. I always forget how underused caraway is. Next cake, I might pop it in. 

So there you have it. How to not quite celebrate Michaelmas Eve. Next year I want plan horse heists. That sounds a lot more fun.

And by the way, the countdown is now most definitely on with only 100 days left of The Everyday Lore Project. Best get subscribing pronto. Or at least share the love on social media…


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

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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