Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Going a gooding

Dec. 21 is the feast of St. Thomas, the apostle and patron saint of builders and architects. In many parts of Old England, however, it was also the day of St. Thomas’s Dole.

Doleing Day or Mumping Day was when the poor of a community – particularly the old women – would visit the well-to-do in search of handouts. This form of pre-Christmas begging or “mumping” was called “going a gooding.”

Doleing Day was a time of good cheer, and many of the poor were invited into homes for not only gifts of money or grain, but also a sip or two of John Barleycorn. In return, they gave their hosts sprigs of evergreens to use as seasonal decorations.

In the spirit of gooding and giving, perhaps Doleing Day would be a good time for us to sit down with our checkbook and pen a few gifts to agencies near and far that could use our help. So many of our thoughts are with family and friends that we may overlook the needy in our midst and in the world.

This Friday, Dec. 21, do good and dole.

1 comment:

=jack said...

Today, of course, you are right. Begging at the doorstep is an old and once somewhat honorable, but now-dangerous tradition.
Unless you are a Jehovah's Witness or Latter Day Saint, begging for a soul.
In which case, they don't call the cops, they just slam the door.