When I was growing up, the last day of each month and the subsequent first day were always a big deal in our family. Each of us would lie in wait for the other one, trying to be the first to land the dreaded first “pinch and a punch for the last/first of the month.” My dad particularly loved the game, and was a master at beating everyone to the punch (literally).
When I attended the college where he taught, our battles grew more fierce. On the appointed days, he would lie in wait in the hallway and jump out at me as I was leaving class. Sometimes I got the better of him, sneaking into his office to get in the first pinch. At other times we could be seen dancing around as each of us tried to get to the other first. My friends and his colleagues, of course, thought we were nuts.
I don’t know where my parents learned this game, but I suspect it was in Pakistan, where they had lots of British colleagues (it’s more common there than in the US). Everyone I knew there played it, but when we moved to the States, very few knew about it.
My father passed away 13 years ago, and for some reason, this family tradition died as well. I was reminded of it again this morning when a friend posted about it on Facebook (yes, a friend from Pakistan days).
I turned to the Interwebs to see if I could find out something about the game. Here’s what Allwords.com has to say about it:
Originating from old England times when people thought that witches existed. People thought that salt would make a witch weak, so the pinch part is pinching of the salt, and the punch part was to banish the witch. The witch would be weak from the salt so the punch was to banish her.
In honor of my dad, I’m going to try to revive the family tradition.
Image source: Keep-calm-o-matic
PINCH AND A PUNCH FOR THE FIRST OF THE MONTH! (There, I got you first!)