was once the custom to give what was called a Maiden Feast, upon
the finishing of the harvest; and
to prepare for which, the last handful of corn reaped in the field
was called the Maiden.
was generally contrived to fall into the hands of one of the finest
girls in the field; was dressed up in ribands,
and brought in triumph, with the music of fiddles or bagpipes.
A good dinner was given to the whole band, and the evening spent
in joviality and dancing, while the fortunate lass who took the
Maiden was the Queen of the feast after which, this handful of
corn was dressed out, generally in the form of a cross, and hung
up, with the date of the year, in some conspicuous part of the
house. This custom is now entirely gone away; and in its room,
to each shearer is given sixpence and a loaf of
bread. However, some farmers, when all their corns are brought
in, give their servants a dinner, and a jovial evening, by way
of Harvest Home.
To Scottish Cooking