Have Fun Learning English
British Culture, British Customs and British Traditions
Devil's Nutting Day - September 21st
With dictionary look up - Double click on any word for its definition.
This section is in advanced English and is only intended to be a guide, not to be taken too seriously!
The Devil seems to be busy in September, when along with the disgusting habit of spitting on blackberries, he seems to go nutting too! The story goes that The Devil's Nightcap (there are several hills with this name) near Alcester, in Warwickshire, was formed when the devil was out nutting on September 21st (known as the Devil's Nutting Day) and met the Virgin Mary. He was so surprised and shocked that he dropped his bag of nuts, which became the hill.
There is an old Sussex saying 'as black as the Devil's nutting bag', which is associated with the superstition that it is extremely unwise to gather nuts in autumn on a Sunday because that is when Old Nick is himself out nutting. Generally people do not go nutting on any Sunday in autumn because you might meet the devil gathering nuts.
It is mentioned in the play, John Endicott, by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow -
ACT I: SCENE II -
Angels in broad-brimmed hats and russet cloaks,
The colour of the Devil's nutting-bag. They came
Into the Meeting-house this afternoon
More in the shape of devils than of angels.
The women screamed and fainted; and the boys
Made such an uproar in the gallery
I could not keep them quiet."