Today, the 1st of June, is the day that eleven plus parents all over the country solemnly circle, in red, those crucial days on the eleven plus calendar. Tradition is a vital part of our everyday lives – and parents may be tempting fate if they due not complete this task with due ceremony and pomp. In fact the red on the calendar may even be an occasion for opening a bottle of wine – along with a three layer chocolate cake for the candidate.
The ancient Romans did not divide their days into weeks and weekends – they went for religious festivals in a big way. Work was not allowed and the Romans gathered in their temples to eat, drink and be merry.
The Romans liked to party and at one stage the Emperor Marcus Aurelius had to pass a law which stated that there could be only one hundred and thirty five days of festivities. Of course some days were more important than others so these days were marked in red on the calendar. This gave us the concept of a red letter day.
There are some important eleven plus procedures – even rituals - that may need to be adhered to:
The eleven plus examination is on a red letter day – and this means party! (After the examination, of course!)
Special attention must be given to the food on that day. If parents have been feeding their poor children with lots of fish to stimulate the brain – then good honest hamburgers may be offered. (Parents may choose to feed, as did the Romans, on Nectar and Ambrosia.)
Parents will need to pay special attention to the wine that is selected. Bacchus was recognised as the Roman god of wine. He was often associated with wine dance and frenzy. (Take it easy now.)
With these precepts parents are cordially invited to colour their calendars, count down the days and prepare for life after the eleven plus.