July 19 – Anniversary of the Revival of Flitch Day

Posted on July 19, 2016

Flitch Day is a reeeeallllly old custom—a married couple who could swear to not regretting their marriage for a year and a day was, in parts of England, awarded a flitch of bacon. (A flitch is a side of unsliced bacon.)

The tradition goes back centuries—back to the 1300s, if not even earlier. The 14th-Century writer Geoffrey Chaucer mentioned the awarding of a flitch at a town called Dunmow, which is still one of the pockets in England associated with the custom.

But, like so many others, this tradition died out.

A Victorian Era writer named William Harrison Ainsworth wrote a book called The Flitch of Bacon—and the book became way popular and sparked interest in the old tradition! On this date in 1854, the ceremony was revived after more than a century of disuse.

These days, every leap year (but on different dates in that year) there are Flitch Trials in Great Dunmow. The couples who want to claim their flitch of bacon go “on trial,” kinda-sorta, and a counsel cross examines them in an effort to figure out if they really deserve their bacon! The trial is decided by a jury.

Although the flitch of bacon was apparently only rarely awarded to couples in the past, these days it's easier to earn. This year, on July 9, four English couples were awarded flitches of bacon, and one runner-up couple was awarded a gammon (which is a ham that has been cured like bacon).

Somehow these trials remind me of the movie Defending Your Life

Also on this date:

Anniversary of a collaboration between giants

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