I completely forgot to say pinch punch this morning as I was too busy swearing at the alarm I’d forgotten to cancel. Welcome to month eight of The Everyday Lore Project! Safe to say, this year has definitely not turned out the way I thought it would. Instead of traveling to events other people have done all the work for, I’ve been raiding local hedgerows, investing in a lot of material culture equipment, and tenuously interpreting the folklore to suit what I have left in my lockdown cupboards. I am having a ball.
While May was all about fecundity, August is all about reaping the resulting abundance. My waistline is never going to decrease, is it? And unlike July with its dire rain predictions, if the skies play nice over the next week, we’re in for a harsh winter*. And fog, watch out for fog too, for it’s said the number of fogs in August predict the number of snow showers later in the year.
So what traditions and folklore does August hold for you? Will you be baking bread today to celebrate Lammas? Will you be behaving indecently on Lhyany’s Day? Will you be planting your turnips in time for Halloween? Or leaving a watermelon out on the full moon? Or even getting some exercise walking seven times round the mausoleum of Mary Gibson? And what are you missing out on this month? I was all geared up to indulge my not-so-secret Robin Hood romantic fantasies watching the Silver Arrow competition at the Sherwood Forest Robin Hood Festival, then dabbling in a bit of Syn over at Dymchurch-under-the-Wall.
To stop my ever crippling #FolkloreFOMO, any folklore, traditions, superstitions, sayings, recipes, remedies, spells, gardening tips, personal, universal, instant, you have, please let me know! My plan for August looks like it has a Swiss cheese fetish, so any help you can give would be blinding.
But this is a glimpse of what I do have planned for this month:
8 August – Trying my hand at making Grassmere gingerbread
14 August – Making soap for poor old Lady Macbeth on the 980th anniversary of the death of Duncan I of Scotland
22 August – Burning a Bartle (I do love me a good sacrificial fire poppet)
Let me know your thoughts in the comments. You can also follow and tweet me @lilithepunk and through the hashtags #EverydayLore and #FolkloreFOMO on Twitter, and if you want to keep up to date with a daily or weekly dose of this foolery, subscribe!
Right, I’m off to forage for inspiration for my salt-dough Lammas loaf.
But before you go…
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*Amended on 2 August 2020 to reflect the correct weather proverb.
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
Jones, J. and Deer, B. (1987) Cattern Cakes and Lace, London, Dorling Kindersley Limited
Leendertz, L. (2019) The Almanac, A Seasonal Guide to 2020, London, Mitchell Beazley
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