Jack o' Lent

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Jack 'o' Lent was a tradition in England in the 15th, 16th, and 17th centuries involving the abuse and burning of a straw effigy during Easter.

The effigy, made of straw or stuffed clothes,[1] was abused and stoned on Ash Wednesday while being dragged about the parish. The figure is then kept until Palm Sunday, when it is burnt. Its burning was often supposed to be a kind of revenge on Judas Iscariot who had betrayed Christ. It is equally likely that it represents the hated figure of Winter whose destruction prepares the way for Spring.[2] He is mentioned in Thomas Heywood's The Four Prentices of London,[1] and Shakespeare's Merry Wives of Windsor and Henry Fielding's Joseph Andrews.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Brand p.101
  2. ^ Frood & Graves p.10


  • Brand, John (1849). Observations on the popular antiquities of Great Britain: chiefly illustrating the origin of our vulgar and provincial customs, ceremonies, and superstitions 1. Bohn. 
  • Frood, J.D. & Graves, M.A.R. Seasons And Ceremonies: Tudor-Stuart England 1558-1667. Elizabethan Promotions, 1992