Carrot Sunday

On the Sunday before Michaelmas – known as ‘Domhnach Curran’, or ‘Carrot Sunday’ – Hebridean women would head to the fields to pull carrots, hoping for a lucky two-pronged root. If the soil were soft enough, they could easily pull the carrots – but, if the soil were hard, a three-pronged mattock was used to dig a triangle (called a torcan) around the carrot. The triangular shape symbolized St. Michael’s shield, while the three-pronged mattock used to dig it symbolized his trident.

As the ladies dug, they would sing a rhyme:

Torcan torrach, torrach, torrach,
Sonas curran corr orm,
Michael mil a bhi dha m’chonuil,
Bride gheal dha m’chonradh.
Piseach linn gach piseach,
Piseach dha mo bhroinn,
Piseach linn gach piseach,
Piseach dha mo chloinn.

Cleft fruitful, fruitful, fruitful,
Joy of carrots surpassing upon me,
Michael the brave endowing me,
Bride the fair be aiding me.
Progeny pre-eminent over every progeny,
Progeny on my womb,
Progeny pre-eminent over every progeny,
Progeny on my progeny.

Recorded in the Carmina Gadelica by Alexander Carmichael

And if a lady were lucky enough to dig up a two-pronged carrot, she would continue:

Fhorca shona, shona, shona,
Fhorca churran mot orm,
Conuil curran corr orm,
Sonas curran mor dhomh.

Fork joyful, joyful, joyful,
Fork of great carrot to me,
Endowment of carrot surpassing upon me,
Joy of great carrot to me.

Recorded in the Carmina Gadelica by Alexander Carmichael

A fun & simple way to bring this ancient tradition into our modern lives is to harvest carrots on Michaelmas! If you have some carrots growing in your garden, take turns seeing if anyone gets a lucky two-pronged carrot. It’s a wonderful opportunity to talk about St. Michael, St. Raphael, & St. Gabriel, while connecting these angels to the harvest.

I also have a sweet (and free!) paper doll set that celebrates this tradition – Goose can pull carrots from a little patch of dirt and see if she gets a lucky one!

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