Grotto Day

Grotto Day

August 5; July 25
In England during the late 18th and early 19th centuries, oysters were not considered the rare delicacy they are today and were, in fact, one of the common staples of fishermen's diets. The large number of oysters eaten at that time meant there were lots of shells around. On St. James's Day, which was observed on August 5 before the Gregorian, or New Style, Calendar came into use and on July 25 thereafter, children used the shells to construct small decorative grottoes. Perhaps these were to represent the shrine of St. James in Spain. Sometimes the children begged for pennies as a reward for their efforts. Most of this grotto-building took place in London, and the custom continued right up to the 1950s. St. James the Great was one of the Apostles and brother to St. John the Evangelist, and the scallop shell was his emblem.
SOURCES:
DictDays-1988, pp. 50, 85
OxYear-1999, pp. 307, 323
References in periodicals archive ?
THOMSON offers a day in Rovaniemi, Lapland, with the Santa's Secret Grotto Day Trip, which costs from PS535pp, children PS399pp.
LAPLAND San Santas Secret Grotto Day Trip, Dec 13, adult PS469, child PS419.
Santa''s Secret Grotto Day Trip With the opportunity to ride husky sleighs and snowmobiles, attend elf school, go Christmas shopping and even meet Santa, treat your children or grandchildren to an unforgettable festive adventure with a trip to Lapland.
Santa's Secret Grotto day trip starts at pounds 299 per adult and pounds 289 per child, flying from Gatwick to Rovaniemi in Finland on December 3.