The Holidays Celebrated In Colonial America

St. Margaret's Day

{ The 20th of July }

  St. Margaret was canonized in 1250 by Pope Innocent IV in recognition of her charitable work for the poor and orphans.

  Margaret was a daughter of King Edward (the Exile) of England. Following the Danish conquest of England in 1016, Canute exiled Edmund Ironside's son, the young prince, Edward to the continent. The child was taken to the court of the Swedish king, Olof Skotkonung first, and later to Kiev. He grew up there and then travelled to Hungary. Edward married Agatha, and Margaret was born in 1045 in Hungary. It was in the very religious atmosphere of the Hungarian court that Margaret found her calling. In 1057 Edward was recalled to England to succeed Edward the Confessor, and Margaret returned with the family. In 1066, when Edward the Confessor died, William of Normandy saw his chance to sieze the throne of England. As William the Conqueror moved into England, Margaret's mother, Agatha, fled to Northumbria with her children. A storm blew their ship farther north to Scotland. At that time Malcolm III was a widower, and was attracted to Margaret. Margaret married Malcolm III (aka Malcolm Caenn~Mhor), King of Albany and bore to him eight children, most of whom would become rulers. A daughter, Matilda married Henry I, King of England. And sons, Edmund, Edgar, Alexander and David wore the Scottish crown successively. One son, Aethelred (who was the Great 29-Grandfather of this site's webmaster, Larry Smith) became the last hereditary Abbot of Dunkeld, and later the First Earl of Fife ~ of the Kindred of St. Columba.

  Margaret was a tremendous influence on her husband, Malcolm, and therefore also on Scotland. She convinced Malcolm to replace Gaelic with Norman French as the official court language. And it was through Margaret's influence that feudalism flourished in Scotland.

  On St. Margaret's Day it was the custom of young ladies who wished to become pregnant to go to church in order to pray to the Saint to help them conceive.