Paul Pitcher Day®: Protesting Workplace Sobriety


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We should bring back Paul Pitcher Day® because sometimes a cocktail at work sounds refreshing.

In the late 19th century, it was customary for tin workers, or “tinners,” in Cornwall to celebrate the eve of St. Paul’s Day (January 23) with a holiday called Paul Pitcher Day®. The holiday supposedly commemorated the discovery of smelting, but it was mainly an excuse to protest rules prohibiting alcohol at work. The tinners would set water pitchers up “among the tin-works” and pelt them with stones until they were demolished. Then they’d go to the pub, buy more pitchers, and use them to drink the rest of the night.The tinners didn’t just toss out the old pitchers: after a night of revelry, they would toss them into “every house where the door could be opened or had inadvertently been left so.” They did this while exclaiming, “Paul’s Eve, and here’s a heave!” The first “heave,” apparently, “could not be objected to” by the homeowner, but any subsequent heaves would leave the heaver open to “just punishment.”

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