NICKANAN NIGHT 2024 TAKES PLACE ACROSS CORNWALL ON THE DAY BEFORE SHROVE TUESDAY 2024. THIS EVENT HAS BEEN CELEBRATED IN THE DUCHY FOR CENTURIES, ALTHOUGH FEW OBSERVE IT THESE DAYS
Are you looking forward to Shrove Tuesday 2024? Well, before you start thinking about how many pancakes you’re going to stuff into your pancake hole, start thinking about how you’ll mark Nickanan Night 2024 on Monday 12 February.
Nickanan Night, also known as Peasen Monday 2024, has been celebrated across Cornwall for centuries. Kids used to call it Roguery Night because they would play practical jokes like moving fishing boats from harbours or cherry knocking on doors in an activity once called ‘nicky nicky nine doors’. Sometimes the youngsters would demand an early pancake, in fact, after cherry knocking but it was all done in good humour. It’s basically a night for some fun and pranks before Pancake Day.
This ancient Cornish tradition is always held on the Monday before Lent. Some locals used to mark it by creating ‘Jack o’ Lent’ straw figures and then burning them in villages across the Duchy like in Polperro. Mousehole was another village where the event was toasted, particularly by mischievous youths. St Just, up until the mid-19th century, saw groups of young people carrying hobbyhorses to toast the occasion in a particularly Cornish way.
Pea soup lovers in Cornwall have always loved Peasan Monday. The dish is traditionally eaten before all those pancakes on the following day as in days of yore, this was a way of making sure that a household’s dried split peas were used up ahead of Lent. Some families added salted bacon to the soup. Just because.
Cornwall is a place of many ancient traditions and in recent years, there’s been a movement of sorts to rekindle not just the local language but many of the traditions that could be lost to time. Sure, nowhere near as many people in the Duchy will mark Nickanan Night 2024 in comparison to all the people who will be frying up pancakes with lemon and sugar on Shrove Tuesday. But some locals will mark it, which is good enough for now. Let’s just hope too many boats aren’t moved from their moorings in Cornish harbours because that sort of prank simply just doesn’t float any more…