Moving Day

gipsie

Explorer
Sep 14, 2008
520
atlantic county
Just out of curiosity..

There was a tradition in the South Jersey farm communities in the 1800's called "Moving Day". I believe it took place near the Vernal Equinox (March 25th, maybe?). Does anyone have more info about it?
 

Hewey

Piney
Mar 10, 2005
1,040
Pinewald, NJ
March 25th was moving day. South Jersey farmers used to move to other fields to farm once ther overworked land became unproductive. Today this is replaced by crop rotation, balanced fertilizer and irrigation. Once the work was done moving a large dinner and party would follow.

Chris
 

gipsie

Explorer
Sep 14, 2008
520
atlantic county
Thanks Chris. I am doing my own little "project" to teach (and learn) about some of south Jersey's Legends and Lore (yes, I read the book!).

There is just so much info out there, but sometimes none of it seems really detailed. Anyone have any stories about that day?
 

Jerseyman

Piney
Sep 10, 2003
1,346
West New Jersey
Gipsie:

Moving Day is international in scope and has several different connotations. Most notably, during the eighteenth and well into the nineteenth centuries, all residential leases expired on April first, May first or, to a lesser extent, October first. If the landlord raised the rent or desired to have the current renter gone, it became “Moving Day” for the house occupants. Many cities around the world would see a shift of up to 40 percent or more of their populations change living quarters on Moving Day. Here is a description of Moving Day in New York City during the last quarter of the nineteenth century:

In New York City the first of May is moving-day. Carpets are torn up, goods hustled into carts and wagons and drays of all descriptions, some families turning our while others are moving in, and all in a hurry, bustle, and confusion harvest for express-wagons and carriers; distress, damage, loss, and misery to thousands who do not own their own homes.

Other names for Moving Days around the world including Flitting Day (England); flytte dag (Denmark); and flytja, flyt flutti (Iceland). Moving Day is an unofficial holiday in French-speaking Quebec.

In some farming communities around the country, Moving Day came to mean the date when the hired farm laborers would move on to other agrarian employment. This often occurred on September 29 or October first, but in the nation of Latvia, it occurs on April 23. It appears Moving Day on dairy farms was when the milk cows changed from silage and barn fodder to pasture grazing.

There are many uses for the term “Moving Day” as you can see, so zeroing in on its specific usage here in South Jersey may be daunting—other than the definition that Hewey already supplied.

Best regards,
Jerseyman