20th Century Irish Roman Catholics Actually Shamed Single Women For Being Single – Gross
This reminds me of how present-day Protestant and Baptist conservative Christians, and secular American conservatives, still shame women for being single and/or for being childless.
It’s disgusting that people do this. It’s not your place to question a woman’s marital or childed status. A woman isn’t less a woman because she is single or childless (whether by choice or by circumstance).
(Link): Chalk Sunday: Women marked with an X for being single
Feb. 26, 2023
By Nuala McCann
BBC News NI
Today – the first Sunday in Lent – was once known as Chalk Sunday in Ireland.
“It was a custom dating back to the 1900s,” said Fiona Byrne, curator of History at the Ulster Folk Museum.
“Young boys would have drawn Xs on the backs of single women’s coats and dresses as they walked to and from Mass. They might have dusted them with chalk or touched them on the shoulder.
“It meant you didn’t manage to get married and was a bit mean really.
Lent is an old English word meaning ‘lengthen’. Lent is observed in spring, when the days begin to get longer. It allows Christians to remember Jesus’s fasting in the desert. It is a time of giving things up and a test of self-discipline.
The old Irish tradition of Chalk Sunday ties in with the feast of Shrove or Pancake Tuesday -the last day before Lent began – when people celebrated and had weddings, in preparation for the period stretching over six weeks of fasting, penitence and denial.
Meat, eggs, dairy, alcohol and even sex were off limits for strict Catholics in Ireland over Lent. Music and merrymaking was not enjoyed. There was a tradition of musical instruments being put away for the six weeks of Lent.
“Shrove Tuesday was traditionally the last day to get married before Lent,” said Ms Byrne. “There would have been a big rush for priests running up to Shrove Tuesday.”
People who were single were considered to have disregarded their social duty to marry and enjoyed a lesser social status.
It followed that Chalk Sunday was a focus on the single.
“Women’s role at that time was about getting married, having children and keeping a house,” said Ms Byrne.
“Women did so much more than that … but as for marriage, for some women it just may not have worked out. The word ‘spinster’ is a horrible term.”
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