A group of Nelson College students want to bring back a unique Nelson holiday – Spud Monday.
Spud Monday was celebrated in Nelson on the first Monday of August up until the outbreak of the Second World War. The day was a public holiday in Nelson only and was created to commemorate the plight of early Nelson settlers who came so close to starvation that they dug up their seed potatoes, already planted, to use as food.
In recent years, the Nelson Provincial Museum has held promotions around Spud Monday. But six Nelson College students want to take it further and have a public holiday reinstated for Nelsonians.
Ross Plank, Cameron Thomas, Sam Mackay-Wright, Mitchell Pugh, Mitchell Friend and Rylea Hart launched a Facebook page and online petition which has gone live today.
The students found out about the day during their history classes and say the petition isn’t a joke, they’re serious.
“We talked about Spud Monday and none of us had heard about it and we thought it sounded ridiculous, so we researched it and thought there was legitimate cause to bring it back as a holiday,” says Sam, 16. “We didn’t see why it was ever discontinued. It’s a piece of Nelson history.”
The boys say it was tradition for people to walk the Dun Mountain Trail on Spud Monday, but they would like to see food stalls down Trafalgar St and a “running with the potatoes” event where people run down the Collingwood St hill while being chased by dropped potatoes.
They are speaking at their school and Nelson College for Girls on the issue this week and hope to gain support from the wider Nelson public. “We see it as a local interpretation of thanksgiving, a chance to commemorate and remember the phenomenal colonial struggle. It’s something that is unique to Nelson and it gives us a legitimate regional identity,” says Sam.
To sign their petition, visit www.bringbackspudmonday.yolasite.com