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PACE n Easter

Pace comes from Old French ‘pasche’ and Latin ‘Pascha’ meaning both Easter and the Feast of the Passover.

For those confused by the date of Easter, Helen Beaton makes all clear in At The Back o Bennachie (1915):

“First comes Candlemas, an’ then the new meen, The first Tuesday efter that is aye Fastern’s Een, That meen oot an’ the neist meen’s hicht, An the first Sunday efter that is aye Pess richt”.

The tradition of rolling eggs was already under threat as early as 1937, according to Mary Banks’ British Calendar Customs:

“Though the custom of rolling ‘paiss’ eggs still holds in Bervie, it is slowly, I think, dying out. In the olden times, however, it was carefully kept and the eggs were rolled on the ‘paiss braes’”.

John Calder, in Sketches from John o Groats (1842) tells us:

“The poor, who had no poultry of their own, went round among their neighbours a day or two before, collecting what they called their ‘peace eggs’”.

Many towns held pace markets. William Anderson in Reveries and Reminiscences (1851) describes one:

“There was some gay wark, at the muckle Paise Market, Where wives bought their linen an sheets i’ the spring”.

New pace clothes were expected, so someone is missing out in this quotation from Anne Hepple in Heydays and Maydays (1937):

“When she set out for church later on she had nothing on that was “pacey new”, but she was allowed to take the blue parasol”.

That made her a pace-yaud or, as an octogenarian lady told a dictionary researcher, “My sister is a Paskieshad”. If you are more interested in weather than new clothes, you may wish to test this assertion from the Transactions of the Banffshire Field Club (1887):

“Whatever ‘airt’ the wind blows from on ‘pass’ Sunday will be the prevailing airt for the following quarter”.

Scots Word of the Week is written by Chris Robinson of Scottish Language Dictionaries.  First Published 21st April 2014