Plough Monday

detail from 'The Costume of Yorkshire' by George Walker; it depicts a mummer dancing around a plough as part of the Plough Monday festivities; from Wilson's Almanac, 1814; swiped from Wikimedia CommonsAlso known as

  • Lort Monday
  • Plow Monday


First Monday after the Feast of the Epiphany. On that Monday, alms were offered to God for the good of the Church and to obtain a blessing on the land as farm labour was resumed following the Christmas holidays.

Ploughmen kept a light burning before the representations of certain saints in churches to obtain a blessing on their work, and on this day they used to go about in procession, hauling a plough and asking for alms to support the lights, called plough-lights. When the suppression of Catholicism in England put out these lights, the plough-men continued to collect the alms, but then spent them in pubs.

Plough Pudding is a boiled suet pudding, containing meat and onions that is traditionally eaten on Plough Monday in some areas of England.

A related festivity, centered around women work, is Saint Distaff’s Day.

In the late 19th and early 20th century, many of these traditions died out, but have lately had a resurregence as less stigma is attached to “folk” activities.

MLA Citation

  • “Plough Monday“. CatholicSaints.Info. 15 January 2017. Web. 4 December 2020. <>