A pinch and a punch for the first of the month… and no returns


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On the first day of each month, to each person you greet, it is traditional to give a (small!) pinch and punch whilst you recite the above ditty.  At the end, you must say ‘and no returns’ or ‘white rabbits’ to stop your poor victim from assailing you in return. At my school, it was tradition to return the compliment by saying – with the appropriate (gentle) actions: ‘Here’s a kick for being so quick’.

Instead of such extreme actions, how about you calm any such thoughts down by viewing the medieval calendar for February from the Macclesfield Psalter?

Macclesfield Psalter - February‘February’ folio 2v from The Macclesfield Psalter,
probably produced at Gorleston, East Anglia circa 1330
Gold & tempera on vellum, 17cm x 10.8cm,
© The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge

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All digital images from the Macclesfield Psalter appear by courtesy of The Fitzwilliam Museum and may not be reproduced (© The Fitzwilliam Museum).

Further reading
Stella Panayotova The Macclesfield Psalter: A Complete Facsimile (2008)
Stella Panayotova The Macclesfield Psalter Book (Cambridge, 2005)
Stella Panayotova The Macclesfield Psalter (PDF format on CD)(Cambridge, 2005)


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You may also be interested in the following
– January from The Macclesfield Psalter

– Images from the British Library’s online images from the early modern period
– Images from the medieval illuminated manuscripts
– The Macclesfield Psalter

© Essex Voices Past 2012-2013.

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One Response to A pinch and a punch for the first of the month… and no returns

  1. Ohhh… that made me laugh and brought back some memories. Down here in South Australia, that’s exactly what we did too… and also the same for the last day of the month. The only difference was we’d say… “A pinch and a kick for being so quick” .. also we never used “white rabbits” for protection :-)
    The psalter is glorious… thankyou.

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