From Ireland, and – unlike the lovely lively full-of-the-joys-of-conjugal-bliss couple above – single on February 14th? Never mind. Just think what could have happened to you yesterday.
From Hall, Ireland, Its Scenery and Character, Vol 1 (1841):-
“In Waterford, some years ago, the lower classes had a species of amusement, we believe, peculiar to them: it was practised on Ash Wednesday, and was called ‘drawing the log’. It was instituted as a penitential exercise to the bachelors and maidens who permitted Lent to arrive without joining in ‘the holy bands’. The log was a large piece of timber, to which a long rope was attached; it was drawn through the streets of the city, followed by a crowd of men and boys of the lowest grade, armed with bludgeons, shouting ‘Come draw the log, come draw the log, bachelors and maidens, some draw the log’ … the most scandalous scenes of cruelty often ensued; young bachelors and maidens being forced from their homes, tied to ‘the log’ and dragged through the city. The custom has, of late years, been very properly discontinued.”
Persecution of bachelors? Proper order, some would say. Though in medieval Dublin, it was the newly married men who were ritually embarrassed by being forced to parade the streets of a Shrove Tuesday (Corperaunt Day) carrying a small coloured ball in front of them. They called it ‘bearing of balls’ and if a fellow was really lucky he was compelled not only to bare his balls in public but to ride with them too.
And, as yet another example of singlehood persecution being for Life, check out this hard-hitting spinster-thrashing bachelor-bashing article by Sean O’Faolain here.
Happy Valentine’s Day! xxxx