St Mark's Eve

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St Mark's Eve
SignificanceDay before the feast day of St. Mark the Evangelist
Date24 April
Next time24 April 2019 (2019-04-24)
Related tofeast of St. Mark

St. Mark's Eve is the day before the feast day of St. Mark the Evangelist. In liturgical Christian churches, this feast of St. Mark is observed on 25 April of each year; thus St. Mark's Eve is 24 April.

English folklore[edit]

It was the custom in villages in England, from the 17th century to the late 19th century, to sit in the church porch on St. Mark's Eve. Those sitting had to keep silent between the bell tolling at 11.00 p.m. until the bell struck 1.00 a.m. In Yorkshire it was necessary to keep vigil for three successive nights.[1] On the third such sitting, it was said that the ghosts of those to die during the year would be witnessed passing into the church. This practice took place throughout England, but was most prevalent in northern and western counties.[citation needed]

Some accounts of the custom state that the watchers must be fasting, or must circle the church before taking up position. The ghosts of those who were to die soon would be the first observed, while those who would almost see out the year would not be witnessed until almost 1.00 a.m. Other variations of the superstition say that the watchers would see headless or rotting corpses, or coffins approaching. Another tradition holds that a young woman can see the face of her future husband appear on her smock by holding it before the fire on St Mark's Eve.[1]

In popular literature[edit]


  1. ^ a b "April 25th". Retrieved 2015-06-04.
  2. ^ "John Keats The Eve of St. Mark". Retrieved 2015-06-04.
  3. ^ "The Eve of St. Mark (1944)". Retrieved 2015-06-04.
  4. ^ "The Eve of St. Mark (1944) - Overview". Retrieved 2015-06-04.
  5. ^ "The Raven Boys". 2013-08-13. Retrieved 2015-06-04.

External links[edit]