Being that our wedding anniversary is 11 October and the well of my genius has been running dry as of late, I decided to scour the internet (ie search on Wikipedia) for a(nother) interesting event that might have happened on this day in history.
After scanning the list of notable events, I remained mostly uninspired… until my eyes alighted on Old Michaelmas Day.
According to Celtic folklore, 11 October is the precise date that Lucifer fell from heaven. Unfortunately for blackberries, it was a blackberry bush that broke the Devil’s fall. Hot-tempered and reactive (classic Devil behaviour), he spit and (according to some elite sources) urinated on the bush, cursing the fruit.
So, our wedding anniversary, Old Michaelmas Day, is also known as The Devil Spits Day. Rolls right off the tongue and is so romantic, isn’t it?!
The Devil’s curse explains why blackberries tend to become manky, slimy, and even toxic after 11 October each year, and every good country lad and lassie knows not to touch the berries come autumn (B has never heard of this rule or holiday).
In Irish folklore, the cursing of the fruit is attributed to the púca. For those of you who don’t know, púca or phooka are basically little fairy-devil-creatures that take on various shapes/embody various animals/come in varying degrees of evil. Think Puck from A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
This all makes sense, really, because as B and I learned from an enlightening museum exhibit in Bruges, Satan usually comes in the form of a goat anyways, and requires that people (mostly witches) kiss his bum in deference. So it’s easy to see how the Devil could be conflated with púca, and the exact culprit of the curse be up for debate.
This was certainly all news to me, but did any of you grow up hearing the tale of the Devil’s spit or celebrating Old Michaelmas Day? Any púca sightings out there? Halloween is coming apace! Let me know in the comments!
Happy Anniversary, my love! I can’t wait to learn more witchy and weird things with you in the future (because, as that show helpfully informed us on Monday, we never stop learning). As you are a man with many words, care to contribute this week’s Weekes Word?
xWG // @dazeandweekes // @weekes