Streichtag is an out-of-use German term for a special punishment day, a concept that existed in some medieval European convent schools. The term Streich- is related to the English word "strike" and is in this context an antiquated German term for the strokes (cuts) of corporal punishment. "-Tag" means "day". So the whole word can be translated as "Whipping Day" or "Spanking Day".
There seem to have been two concepts behind the idea of the Streichtag:
- Either, for each individual student was recorded a list of faults and offenses committed. The corresponding punishments — in numbers of strokes — were summed up and the resulting "bill" was settled on the Streichtag.
- And/or, on that special day, every student was punished, guilty or not. The idea was that of maintenance spankings: to keep the students "in line" and to punish any unknown misdeeds that had escaped the attention of the schoolmasters.
Abbey of St Gall fire
An event is recorded that happened in the Abbey of Saint Gall in St. Gallen (Switzerland) on 26 April 937. It was a Streichtag and so a boy was sent to go and fetch the birch rods. The boy was so fearful of being whipped that he took a burning piece of wood from the fireplace, put the roof on fire and shouted for help. The flames consumed several of the convent's buildings before they were put out.