Today is St. Distaff’s Day, or Roc Day, which marks the end of the 12 Days of Christmas and is known traditionally as the time women would get back to their spinning after Yule festivites and the feast of the Epiphany.
Shakespeare called the Twelve Days the Halcyon Days, from a belief that the ocean was so calm on these days that the halcyon bird could lay her eggs on the waves. Like the Halcyon Days, these are days when normal activities are deferred. In medieval England, all work was suspended during the Christmas holidays. Women could not begin spinning again until January 7, the day after Twelfth Night, which was called Saint Distaff’s Day. — from TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS
Back then, spinning was the only way of making fibre into thread, for all the required needlework to provide clothing and linens used in daily life and women were constantly spinning, during the day with a drop-spindle and on their wheels in the evenings.
Many spinners, knitters and weavers celebrate St Distaff’s Day today by holding events. Here’s one that looks like fun.
Learn more about the history of January 7th here.