Roc Day is the gathering of spinners that occurs the day following Epiphany. The legend has it that after fortnight, women, who had put up their wheels and looms for the holiday baking and chores, returned to weaving and spinning, but the men wouldn’t return to their farm duties until the following Monday. In between this time, the men would harass the women (figures, nothing has changed), so the women wouldn’t get much done, but merrymaking resulted. Roc is derived from old German and Scandinavian words for the distaff, especially when holding wool or flax.
I am not sure about the merrymaking or the men returning to farm duties in the middle of winter, but when I was growing up in Rome, Italy, the holiday season did end on Epiphany and normal life resumed on January 7th.
Technically, then, Roc Day is January 7th, also known as Saint Distaff’s Day. However, we celebrate the Gulf Coast States Roc Day on the 1st Saturday after the New Year holiday. Our “reason” for the get-together is to spin, knit, or use some other portable fiber technique, but we visit, invite vendors so we can shop, show off our work, catch up on the year events, and have a leisurely lunch with old and new friends. Fiber guilds in the region rotate hosting Roc Day. I am just back from Roc Day 2016, a wonderful event hosted by the Bayou Yarn Benders of Baton Rouge, LA. In addition to the visiting, shopping and, well, yes, eating, I was a vendor, providing the manuscript that my husband Terry Dwyer and I produce.
Here are some people at Roc Day 2016 having some serious fiber fun!