Perhaps you know the childhood rhyme Oranges and Lemons?
Oranges and lemons, Say the bells of St. Clement's.
You owe me five farthings, Say the bells of St. Martin's.
When will you pay me? Say the bells of Old Bailey.
When I grow rich, Say the bells of Shoreditch.
When will that be? Say the bells of Stepney.
I do not know, Says the great bell of Bow.
I certainly remember singing it as a youngster, but did you know there is such a thing as Oranges and Lemons Day? No, I didn’t either until I came across a reference to it recently.
Oranges and Lemons Day
Oranges and Lemons Day takes place annually in London, usually on the third Thursday of March. On this day the children from St Clement Danes Church of England Primary School attend a church service at St Clement Danes Church. After the service the church's bells are rung and the children are each given an orange and a lemon. The obvious question is; why?
In medieval times the churchyard of St Clements reached the river and cargoes of fruit were transported through it; hence the rhyme. In 1919 a special service held to mark the re-hanging of the church bells and the tradition has continued ever since.