Oct 15, 2007

Tell me you didn’t forget!

by Joyce DiPastena

Please don’t tell me you forgot! The anniversary comes around once a year. It involves cake! You didn’t forget to celebrate yesterday…did you?

What was yesterday, you ask? Why, it was Norman Conquest Day! Come on, you all remember the story. On October 14, 1066, Duke William of Normandy defeated the Saxon King Harold Godwinson at the Battle of Hastings, becoming known to history as William the Conqueror (as well as King William I of England).

Although it has become politically correct in recent years to celebrate the “noble Saxons” and condemn the “greedy, avaricious Normans”, the simple fact is, those of us with English heritage undoubtedly have both Saxon and Norman blood running through our veins. So why not honor both sides of our ancestry? After all, if it weren’t for the Normans, we would be eating cow and pig (Saxon) at our tables, rather than beef and pork (Norman). Our police would be fighting “firen” (Saxon) instead of “crime” (Norman), and we would all have “eams” (Saxon) instead of “uncles” (Norman). Furthermore, we would be spelling words such as “question” (Norman) as “kwestion”. (Saxon…although generations of English speaking school children might have thanked the Saxons for that one!)

So if it passed you by this year, mark your calendars for 2008 and on October 14, eat a piece of cake, raise a goblet of milk (after all, it goes well with cake), shout a battle cry and celebrate…Norman Conquest Day!


  1. Joyce, what fun!
    I love reading bits of trivia like that. You made it very interesting and I am going to share it with my kids tonight.

  2. I confess, I did forget. However, did you remember Talk Like a Pirate Day on September 19? Argh, Matey, ye be shiverin' your timbers if ye ferget that day.

  3. Just my luck. I post a comment and get a 'disabled' flag. Now, what did I write? Oh, yes, that if I believe all I'm told, I have both Norman and Saxon blood flowing through me. Maybe that's why I'm sometimes quite daring. I can recite snippets from The Lord's Prayer in Old English, and from Canterbury Tales in Middle English. Well, sort of, anyway. And how fitting that Columbus happened to discover America on the same date a mere 426 years later. How appropriate. Yea for America and all our ancestors who brought us through the ages to this enviable place.


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