Holidays · Sewing

Distaff Day

Distaff Day a day for women to return to spinning after Epiphany. #DistaffDay

Distaff Day

Distaff Day a day for women to return to spinning after Epiphany. #DistaffDay

This was the day after Epiphany, when women were expected to return to their spinning following the Christmas holiday. A distaff is a rod that is used to hold unspun flax or wool.

Held annually on January 7. Also know as Saint Distaff’s Day or even Roc Day.

The distaff, or roc, used in spinning was the medieval symbol of women’s work

Don’t worry men had Plough Monday when they were suppose to return to work after Epiphany.

Today using the spinning wheel is more of a hobby.

Types of distaffs include …

  • the basic distaff, which is simply a smooth stick
  • Russian-style distaffs, which are more decorative and board-like in shape

Before the spinning wheel was invented in 1533, women used the distaff and the spindle to spin wool fibers or flax.

In 1648, Robert Herrick composed a poem about the antics of Distaff Day titled “Hesperides.”


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