In need of a haircut?
If you were a member of Irish Catholic society back in the olden days, today would have been the day to do it.
According to a submission in the wonderful National Folklore Collection of Ireland, ‘Clip Thursday’ was one of many traditions that were carefully observed by god-fearing folk years ago.
“It is supposed that nobody should cut their hair during Lent except on Holy Thursday. That day is called, “Clip Thursday.” Brian Greham (86) told the story collectors.
“It is a custom for women to wear their hair down over their shoulders in honour and commemoration of Mary Magdalen when she dried our Lord’s feet with her hair.”
Holy Thursday’s eggs
“The old people say that everyone should cut their nails and a bit of their hair on Holy Thursday.” agrees Kathleen Smith.
“The eggs laid on Holy Thursday are kept for Easter Sunday. There is always a little cross put on all these eggs. The people eat them on Easter morning. They are called Holy Thursday’s eggs.”
Mrs Dore (70) remembers even more customs that were brought out at this time of year: “The customs on Holy Thursday are the Procession of The Blessed Sacrament from the High Altar to the Altar of Repose which is decorated with flowers.
“In olden times people used to drink their tea black on Ash Wednesday, Holy Thursday and Good Friday and they used also eat herring for their dinner.”
Our ancestors fasted intensely for the last few days of Lent. “The first thing in the morning was a drink of water and they worked until one o’clock, and then came the dinner which consisted of a “bonnach” of oaten, wheaten, or potato bread and a “noggin” of goat’s or sweet milk.” recalls Mr Patrick Murtagh.
“Then, working until eight or nine o’clock they eat their ” stirabout “.
Stirabout was a type of porridge mixture with Irish whiskey or brandy, cream and sugar.
Good Friday has its own set of rules
“If a person draws blood from an animal on Good Friday by a beating or by cruelty, he is supposed to die before the year is out.” recalls Mr Greham.
“Good Friday is supposed to be a lucky day on which to set potatoes. The man who sets potatoes on that day will have a good crop.”
Image © National Folklore Collection