Friday, June 04, 2010

What I Found In My Book Of Dates

During my radio show, I read five or six “Happened on this day” items. Today is “Old Maids’ Day,” established in 1948 by Miss Marian Richard of Norristown PA.

Perhaps not the best thing to announce over the air, but nobody called to complain, and I have a big audience. The people in that city celebrate it with lots of good humor, roses and daisies (referred to as the happiest flower in the garden). They set the lower age limit at 35 and there are a few rituals connected with remaining single.

Quakers and Roman Catholics, says one source, are two religious backgrounds that encouraged at least one daughter in the family to remain unmarried. These daughters became teachers and nurses or missionaries giving their lives to service of others, through the church.

Maiden aunts are often responsible for the traditions and folklore of the family. They gather the information from family members and share it with the next generations. Cultural values, beliefs, myths and superstitions are learned by young children – usually girls. Family members expect these ladies to pass the lore along.

One daughter in the family, often the youngest, was expected to remain unmarried, live at home, and care for aging parents. Some times the father’s will acknowledged this “sacrifice” by allotting her extra income or property from his estate. This ensured that she was named in the will. (Collected from various sources.)


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