Hocktide

Hocktide or Hock tide was an English mediaeval festival celebrated on the second Tuesday after Easter Sunday; it and the preceding Monday were the Hock-days. Together with Whitsuntide and the twelve days of Yuletide the week following Easter marked the only vacations of the husbandman's year, during slack times in the cycle of the year when the villein ceased work on his lord's demesne, and most likely on his own land as well. Early folk celebrations of Hocktide are undocumented, though as a term day, it appears often in documents. By the 19th century the festivities consisted of the men of the parish binding the women on the Monday and demanding a kiss for their release. On the Tuesday, the actual Hock-day, the women would tie up the men and demand a payment before setting them free. The monies collected would then be donated to the parish funds. The origins of the name Hocktide are unknown.

Hock-Tuesday was an important term day, rents being then payable, for with Michaelmas it divided the rural agricultural year into its seasons of winter (followed by Lent) and summer (followed by harvest). No trace of the word is found in Old English, and hock-day, its earliest use in composition, appears first in the 12th century. Hocktide and hock-money are first attested in 1484 (OED)

George C. Homans notices the parallel pattern as at Yuletide, of a solemn feast of the Church, that of Christmas itself, followed by a festive holiday, with the agricultural round beginning anew after Epiphany, with the folk customs of Plow Monday. Until the 19th century in England, Plow Monday, the first Monday after Epiphany, occasioned the antics of the gang of young plowmen, calling themselves the "plow-bullocks", who went door to door with the caparisoned "white plow", collecting pennies; when these were withheld they might plow up the dooryard

At Coventry there was a play called The Old Coventry Play of Hock Tuesday. This, suppressed at the Reformation owing to the incidental disorder that accompanbied it, and revived as part of the festivities on Queen Elizabeth's visit to Kenilworth in July 1575, depicted the struggle between Saxons and Danes, and has given colour to the suggestion that hock-tide was originally a commemoration of the massacre of the Danes on St Brice's Day, 13 November 1002, or of the rejoicings at the death of Harthacanute on 8 June 1042 and the expulsion of the Danes. But the dates of these anniversaries do not bear this out.

Until the 16th century, Hocktide was widely celebrated in England on the second Tuesday after Easter, although the massacre of the Danes in 1002, by order of King Ethelred the Unready, took place around the feast of St Brice, on 13 November and Hardicanute's death in 1042 occurred on the 8 June. The festivities were banned under Henry VIII as they were thought to encourage public disorder, but Elizabeth I was petitioned to reinstate the tradition in 1575, an event recorded in Sir Walter Scott's Kenilworth. How popular the revival was is not recorded, but a number of towns are known to have re-established the tradition. However by the end of the 17th century the festival was largely forgotten.

Read more about Hocktide:  Hocktide Today

Other articles related to "hocktide":

Hungerford - Hocktide
... Hungerford is the only place in the country to have continuously celebrated Hocktide or Tutti Day (the second Tuesday after Easter) ... summons the Commoners of the town to the Hocktide Court held at the town hall, while two florally decorated 'Tutti Men' and the 'Orange Man' visit every house with commoners' rights (almost ...
Hocktide Today
... Hocktide in Hungerford now combines the ceremonial collecting of the rents with something of the previous tradition of demanding kisses or money ... Although the Hocktide celebrations take place over several days, the main festivities occur on the Tuesday, which is known as Tutti Day ... The Hocktide Council, which is elected on the previous Friday, appoints two Tutti Men whose job it is to visit the properties attracting Commoner's Rights ...