Devil's Spit Day
Other Scottish Country Dances for this Day
Today's Musings, History & Folklore
“On Michaelmas Day the devil puts his foot on blackberries”
Old Michaelmas Day is also called “Devil Spits Day”; it’s the last day that blackberries should be picked, according to old British folklore. This is known as the day that the Devil came to earth; he fell from the skies, straight onto a blackberry bush, whereupon he cursed the fruit, scorched them with his fiery breath, stamped on them and then spat on them making them unfit to eat!
The Bramble Bush
Blackberry, Bramble, Bumble-Kite, Bramble-Kite, Bly, Brummel, Brameberry, Scaldhead, and Brambleberry ... whatever name you use for these delicious berries, Today, Devil's Spit Day (Old Michaelmas Day) is the last recommended day to traditionally pick berries!
Although Michaelmas is celebrated on the 29th September, when the calendar was reformed in 1752, “Old Michaelmas Day” was moved to the 10th October. Old Michaelmas Day is also called “Devil Spits Day”; it's the last day that blackberries should be picked, according to old British folklore.
It is said that when St. Michael expelled Lucifer, the devil, from heaven, he fell from the skies and landed in a prickly blackberry bush. Satan cursed the fruit, scorched them with his fiery breath, and stamped and spat on them (or worse), so that they would be unfit for eating. As it is considered ill-advised to eat them after this date, a Michaelmas pie is made from the last of the season.
This folklore custom has some basis in truth as berries on the vine in late season do begin to be affected by molds and smuts.
To use up the last of your berries, try the perfect late summer desert, Michaelmas Blackberry Dumplings, from Lavender & Lovage, by clicking the picture.