Handsel Monday

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Handsel Monday

First Monday of the year; first Monday after January 12
A secular holiday, Handsel Monday was important among the rural people of Scotland. "Handsel" was something given as a token of good luck, particularly at the beginning of something; the modern house-warming gift would be a good example. Thus Handsel Monday was an occasion for gift giving at the start of the new year, and it remained a Scottish tradition from the 14th until the 19th century. Eventually it was replaced by Boxing Day, and the custom of giving farm laborers and public servants some extra money or a small gift on this day continues.
Because Handsel Monday was so widely celebrated among the rural population, many Scottish peasants celebrated Auld Handsel Monday on the first Monday after January 12, reflecting their reluctance to shift from the Old Style, or Julian, calendar to the New Style, or Gregorian, calendar.
SOURCES:
BkDays-1864, vol. I, p. 52
DictDays-1988, p. 54
DictFolkMyth-1984, p. 478
OxYear-1999, p. 650
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