Green Man Forum and Folklore Tuesday May 21 2013
FOLKLORE, CUSTOMS AND TRADITIONS
THEIR CURIOUS BACKGROUNDS
We British are not quite the homogeneous group we are led to believe - we are actually a splendid mix of many cultures. Our folklore, customs and traditions reflect our rich past and unique inheritance. It is vital to keep them all alive and to pass their knowledge onto our children. Without that transfer then they will be lost like any endangered species.
Many of our traditions can be easily identified in some regions to influences of earlier Vikings, Celts or Anglo Saxons. Many of our customs can be traced back thousands of years whilst others just a few hundred years,.
All of our folklore festivals involve the five "F"s of life - fun, fresh air, finding out, (f)ysical activity and friendship! They are all happy and fun-filled and well worth seeking out and visiting them or merging them into your holiday plans.
Invariably there's lots of ear-shattering noise, unhealthy food, bawdy music and of course, serious drinking in the local pub. Curiously every celebration seems to attract men with strange hats, bells, ribbons, sticks and sometimes blackened faces. These quaint men are the ubiquitous Morris Men Dancers who far from becoming a dying breed seem to infiltrate every folklore event with their delightful dancing, colours, music and good hearty fun- increasingly more woman dancers are encountered.
The range, distribution and types of our rich folklore events are vast and intriguing. Very often their original significance is lost in the mists of time, sometimes they can be found replicated in different parts of our country or other parts of Europe on different dates with different themes. Many of our cherished events are kept alive by keen, enthusiastic and knowledgeable groups of locals who these days relish every moment of its planning and usually ensure that local and national charities also benefit from their endeavours.
Many folklore events are religious in their origin but not necessarily Christian. The Whalton Baal fire in July celebrates the Celtic Feast of Light whereas The Blessing of the Throats at St Ethelreda's Church, London, is clearly Christian as is Clypping The Church at Painswick.
Other folklore events continue to thrive and celebrate the gifts of our Mother Earth - Colchester Oyster Feast, Plough Sunday, Harvest Home, Corn Dolly Plaiting and so many more.
Some events are totally bewildering when we try to interpret them. The Horn Dance at Abbots Bromley, Hunting the Earl of Rone at Castle Martin, Bottle-kicking at Hallaton, The Lords of Misrule, Rope Pulling at Ludlow and The Furry Dance in Cornwall. All are great fun, lively, colourful but so often defy explanation.
There are countless folklore events which regularly appear on their fixed day, fixed place with fixed protocol and predictability. Some events are just plain bonkers, crazy and so typically, quintessentially part of our island culture.
How do you explain gurning at The Egremont Crab Fair, suicidal Cheese Rolling at Brockworth, surreal Hare Pies at Hallaton, Silver Ball Hurling at St Ives, "Twerm Charming" at Nantwich, The Obby Oss at Padstow or Jack-in-the-Green at Knutsford?
The Link is often the ubiquitous Green Man who appears not only in both secular buildings and churches but also our folklore and traditions.
He may appear under different names but he always reflects Man's link and oneness with the Mother Earth.
He brings his presence and influence as
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
Woodwose / Wild Men
May King and Queen
and in so many other guises.
Some Midland Customs and Traditions ..... and Folklore.
Our rich heritage is so unique and precious. Almost like an endangered species, we need to keep it alive before it is lost and forgotten. Our own pride must distil onto our next generation.
This Talk is a pleasure to give for it is fun, active and full of audience participation. There is a PowerPoint presentation of colourful evocative slides besides lots of materials and resources and direct challenges for you to enjoy. It is suitable for people and children of all ages.
The actual topics can be tailored to your group's needs and interests- we can choose from a wide range of options:
1. THE CHURCH YEAR
2. THE ENGLISH YEAR - month by month customs.
3. SPECIAL CUSTOMS - from our Midlands area.
4. COUNTRY TRADITIONS - fading rapidly.
5. THE UBIQUITOUS GREEN MAN - found everywhere!
6. SOME MIDLAND CURIOSITIES - seldom known
7. WERE SCHOOLDAYS THE HAPPIEST DAYS? - yes / no?
8. SOME VILLAGE CUSTOMS - still surviving.
9. LAW, ORDER AND PUNISHMENTS - not for the squeamish!
10. ‘TIS MARKET DAY - in town and country
The fine detail of each option covers a wide range of smaller topics. Special themes can be incorporated if required. Do please phone me so we can fully discuss and plan your group's unique and unusual talk. Each one is decidedly different and infinitely enjoyable!