Plough Monday

In England, there is a folk tradition known as Plough Monday (which is the first Monday after the end of the Yuletide and traditionally also after January 6) that encompassed the ceremonial act of ploughing the first furrows in the fields. While the earliest written depictions of this tradition come from post conversion (1400s CE), it is in all likelihood a surviving remnant of the pagan past. While Christianity would have altered the customs, the surviving folk traditions still practiced today appear to be based on the pagan observances we tend to celebrate with the Heathen Holy Tide for the Charming of the Plough.

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Plough Monday is celebrated today in many communities across the United Kingdom (Yorkshire, Cambridgeshire, etc.), while some local traditions vary, typically a village plough was blessed, decorated, and a ceremonial ploughing around the village was carried out. This tradition mirrors other types of ploughing and land taking / land marking traditions we see throughout the Northern Tradition umbrella. I’ll explore this in more depth with my Charming of the Plough post in February.

In addition to the plough itself there is also a tradition of going around trying to earn everything from drink to money, which to me is reminiscent of pagan caroling and wassailing traditions. Here’s some traditional songs.

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Additionally there’s also dancers, and a straw bear (man in straw outfit) which to me evokes other pagan traditions like the Perchten and Krampus processionals.

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As there might be a few Heathens celebrating, I wanted to wish them a Happy Plough Monday!

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Here’s a few sites that talk about the folk tradition, then and today:

Plough Monday
Plow Songs
Balsham Ploughmen
Enid Porter Project

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One thought on “Plough Monday

  1. Pingback: The Holy Tides – Charming of the Plough / Disting – Wyrd Designs

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