Yearbook of English Festivals

Yearbook of English Festivals

Yearbook of English Festivals

Yearbook of English Festivals

Excerpt

I began this book the day I was convinced the British always mind their own business. If you live in one village nobody knows-- much less, cares--what goes on in the next. If you want to learn about something, it is well to depend on yourself, because otherwise, nobody can tell you where anything happens, or when. This is fun Once you become a sleuth in such matters, each hour is an adventure, each day a journey into the unknown.Over a hundred years ago Washington Irving had much the same idea. He shrewdly observed that to really know the English, a stranger ". . . must go forth into the country; . . . sojourn in villages and hamlets; . . . visit castles, villas, farm houses, cottages, wander . . . along hedges and green lanes; . . . loiter about country churches; attend wakes and fairs and other village festivals."This is what I did when writing this book. England has a vast wealth and variety of traditional customs--moving, picturesque, or humorous, as the case may be--which are celebrated at every season throughout the year. Such as:

A Pig's Face Feast, when Gloucestershire folk eat succulent roast pig (in small quantity, nowadays, alas!), to commemorate the wild boar feast Queen Matilda traditionally held over nine centuries ago, upon completion of their village church.

A "Clipping the Church" ritual in another Gloucestershire community, when parish youngsters join hands and "embrace" their church in rhythmic, swaying dance, in memory, some say, of an old Roman pastoral ritual to protect lambs from wolves.

An eight-hundred-year-old penance, called "Planting the Penny Hedge," to remind people that three wicked huntsmen once murdered a monk for sheltering a wounded forest beast.

A famous Goose Fair (the 659th to be held in 1954), kept ever since Edward I granted its Charter in 1284, and gooseherds, travel- . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.