OK, there’s no “Saint Distaff.” Although, any woman who had to wield a distaff when spinning wool or flax is a saint in my book.
Rather, “St. Distaff Day” is Ye Ole Catholic Church’s way of saying: “Get back to work!”
Back in the day, Christmas partying lasted until the Feast of the Epiphany (it still does in some Christian cultures). You know, the old Twelve Days of Christmas” racket.
The day after the Epiphany, the fun was over. Women picked up their distaffs again and resumed their lives of ceaseless toil. Men resumed their ceaseless pastime of tormenting women, which on St. Distaff Day included stealing the spun wool and flax and setting it on fire.
There’s even a snatch of doggerel to mark the merry moment:
“Give St. Distaff all the right;
Then bid Christmas sport good night,
And next morrow everyone
To his own vocation.”
I am on a business trip, so no textile work for me!