Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Morris Dancing

While on vacation I read Disobedience by Jane Hamilton, and found this fun little bit about Morris Dancing, a May Day tradition:

The morris dancing we learned as children requires a set of four couples, eight dancers who skip like hell in various figures, knock sticks together, or flick their white hankies heavenward. The origins of the tradition are lost, but it probably has something to do with the pan-European agrarian fertility rites, and celebrations at sowing and harvest time. By the Industrial Revolution it was a bonding deal for the men in the English Midlands. They'd get up early on May Day, dancing at establishment after establishment, begging for beer with their performances along the way, getting drunk and then drunker as the day wore on. A lot of the older women at camp did morris dancing for a workout, morris dancing, the pagan precursor to the aerobic worship of the body, minus the spandex and the hand weights.


Melissa said...

Hah! Love it!

BTW, I'll be in the "Wealth and Poverty" area on the 23rd and 24th. Look for Water to Thrive. We'll be the ones doing the jerrycan walk.

Woman in a Window said...

Funny, the men getting drunk and the women using it to their full advantage. I guess this suggests the men did as well!

Kyla said...

LOL! Quite funny.