January 7, the day after the Epiphany, was – in Medieval Europe – the day when women returned to work with spinning and the like – hence the jocular name of “St. Distaff’s Day” for the Seventh. As usual Robert Herrick had something to say about it.
Saint Distaffs day, or the morrow after
Partly worke and partly play
Ye must on S. Distaffs day:
From the Plough soone free your teame;
Then come home and fother them.
If the Maides a spinning goe,
Burne the flax, and fire the tow:
Scorch their plackets, but beware
That ye singe no maiden-haire.
Bring in pailes of water then,
Let the Maides bewash the men.
Give S. Distaffe all the right,
Then bid Christmas sport good-night;
And next morrow, every one
To his owne vocation.