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Folklore: It's not just for peasants anymore.


April 6th, 2012

Parsley @ 03:58 pm

sollersuk:
My neighbour, who has lived all her life in the corner between Cheshire, Lancashire, Yorkshire and Derbyshire, did something very traditional today: she planted parsley seeds. This is the day to do it, she says, because the seeds have to go down to Hell and back before they germinate, and this is the only safe time of year for it.

It's probably associated with the fact that it's very hard to get parsley to germinate, but does anybody have any information on the origin of the belief? Unlike a lot of things around here I can't see any tie-in with pagan Celtic, Saxon or Danish ideas.
 
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From:ashkitty
Date:April 6th, 2012 03:07 pm (UTC)
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It goes back to the Greeks, who used to put it on gravesites, iirc. There's a bit in Plutarch where he says one of the Celtic tribes scared off a Roman invasion by sending donkeys covered in parsley at them. I think in earlier times it was only safe for a male head of household to plant on Good Friday and definitely not for virgins as they risked the Devil getting them pregnant.
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From:sollersuk
Date:April 6th, 2012 04:12 pm (UTC)
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I can see beliefs associated with parsley but why do the seeds have to go to Hell before they can germinate?
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From:k_navit
Date:April 8th, 2012 01:52 am (UTC)
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I always heard it goes seven times to the devil before it will germinate (the idea being that it is so hard to germinate, as you mentioned). If the belief is specifically associated with Good Friday being the only *safe* time of year for it to go to hell and back, I cannot imagine it not having something to do with the Harrowing of Hell, so maybe that would be a fruitful avenue for inquiry? But that's all I have are guesses.

Yes, it's a real discipline!

Folklore: It's not just for peasants anymore.