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On Wayzgoose Day, master printers used to provide an entertainment to their workers each day on (or around) August 24.
Now the term refers to an annual outing and / or dinner for the staff of a printing house or of a newspaper.
There are several theories for how a day of merry-making and feasting came to be called wayzgoose. It may have been a reference to eating goose, of course, or it may have been a word that evolved from a Dutch term for “inn” or, figuratively, “banquet.”
Why August 24? Aside from the fact that late August is a great time to mark the end of summer, in the northern hemisphere, today is St. Bartholomew's feast day, and St. Bart is the patron saint of bookbinders (as well as others). Also, today is the historical anniversary of THE most important even in printing history:
On this date in 1456, the printing of the Gutenberg Bible was completed. It's possible that this momentous event was celebrated with the very first wayzgoose party!
Nowadays some wayzgoose parties are held on other dates, even in different months and seasons. In Canada one town holds an annual wayzgoose festival every April; the festival focuses on handmade paper, handmade books, and small presses. The Letterpress Guild of New England meets in September for wayzgoose, and the Hamilton Wood Type and Printing Museum in Wisconsin holds a wayzgoose in November. The wayzgoose in Tacoma, Washington, includes a Steamroller Smackdown competition that gets the community involved in the art of printmaking, and the University of California, Irvine's wayzgoose is a medieval fair.
Celebrate printing and paper making!
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