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Plough Monday 2021 Date and Significance: Know the History & Celebrations of the Observance Celebrating Traditional Start of English Agricultural Year

The first Monday after Twelfth Night is observed as Plough Monday in the United Kingdom. It is a day when ploughmen blackened their faces to mark the end of the Christmas period for the agricultural communities. It is an English agricultural year and the local practices vary every year. Plough Monday 2021 falls on January 11.  References to Plough Monday dates back to the late 15th century. The day before Plough Monday is sometimes referred to as Plough Sunday. As Plough Monday 2021 approaches, we bring to you date, significance, history and celebrations related to the observance. Feast of the Epiphany 2021 Date And Significance: Know the History, Traditions And Celebrations Related to Three Kings Day.

As agricultural work would be scarce in winter, farm labourers disguised themselves by blackening their faces with soot. They would then get money by dragging a decorated plough around the larger houses in the villages. And while they dragged the plough they would shout out “Penny for the ploughboys!”

They would be accompanied by someone acting the Fool. This character would be dressed in animal skins and a tail, and carry a pig’s bladder on the end of a stick. Molly dancing is most commonly performed on or around Plough Monday. Molly dancers would at times accompany the farm labourers to dance and entertain for money. They blackened their faces so they could not be recognised by their future employers.

Plough Monday have been quite popular in parts of Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire and the East Midlands. During the 19th century, men dressed as Straw Bearsmen were familiar on Plough Monday. And in some places, instead of dragging a decorated plough, one of the farmers would dress as a straw bear and along with other farm labourers would beg door to door for money.

The tradition of someone dressing up as a straw bear happens every year in January, in Whittlesey, near Peterborough. On the Saturday before Plough Monday, the Straw Bear would be paraded through the streets of Whittlesey. The Straw bear is accompanied by a host of Morris, molly and folk dancing, and musicians.

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Jan 11, 2021 08:05 AM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website latestly.com).

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