plough monday

The first Monday after the twelve nights of Christmas is known as Plough Monday. Traditionally on this day farm workers returned to the land and all sorts of revelry and custom marked the occasion.

In many villages the day would consist of ploughman wearing white shirts with blackened faces dragging a decorated plough through the village. The precession would stop at each house and request food, wine and money - an element of the custom that caused the celebrations to fall out of favour with some villagers.

Understandably the custom has become less commonplace as farming and communities have become more disconnected. But you may still see more than your fair share of Morris dancing and the odd decorated plough this week. Indeed even some of the associated customs live on close to us in Yaxley. Just down the road in Whittlesey the custom of the