Sunday, 29 July 2007

Molly Dancing

We have many traditions in these Great British Isles of ours 'Molly Dancing',is one of the querkier (my opinion)ones,but great fun ,and some talent,that has been revised ,maybe it never went away!!

Yesterday after I had posted my entry ,Debbie IM d me saying ''I see from your journal ,you are going shopping ,can we join you ? ''of course I agreed ,so off we set up to the town ,shopping done, we sat on a bench near the market in the sun for a while ,and a lady gave us a flyer announcing Molly Dancers who would be in the town centre at 4 pm ,so we decided we would like to have a look ,so back home we went ,to put away our shopping ,then back up to town we went, Debbie, Jason her son and Kizzie and I

Well we loved it ...colourful dancing ,story tellers ,Fen tales spooky and factual  they did a variety of different dances depicting ,the plight of the poor Fen ploughmen ,,and the head Molly dancer and story teller had to be a man ? hence the name Molly !  See the man in the red cardigan ,in the piture ,a big crowd had gathered,and after a few dances they invited ,cajoled some of the crowd to partcipate ,I use the word cojole here because they wanted us to join in,Jason Kizzie and I declined ,but Debbie thought one of us ought to accept the kind offer ,so good sport that she is she joined in ,and very good she was too .........

Why do the women wear masks and the men have black faces?

The custom of disguising yourself stems from many many years ago, dancers used to paint their faces with coal or burnt ashes from the fire so that they wouldn’t be recognized. In the case of Molly dancing, done by Plough Teams in the Fens when they weren’t in work, the dancers black up but also remain expressionless throughout their performances, again to remain unrecognised as a smile can instantly reveal a person’s identity. This meant that when the hat was passed around, nobody knew who they were and so they couldn’t be prosecuted, as begging was illegal. It’s also been attributed to the times when dancing was frowned upon by the Puritans so, again, nobody knew who you were. The tradition can also be traced back to the 17th Century when, during the Christmas period, the Lord of Misrule took to the streets, generally partying, entertaining people with singing and dancing and creating chaos in the process – a pastime that Henry VIII was known to enjoy on occasion. If suitable payment or refreshments were not received by the Lord of Misrule and his attendants, pranks would be paid on the audience. If the pranksters weren’t known, there could be no retaliation. I’d been impressed by a Border team I’d seen at a festival. They wore full facemasks with tatters on them and long tatter coats, and it was totally impossible to tell whether they were male or female. We also saw the masks used by the baddies in Lord of the Dance, which hid the identity of the people wearing them and made the dancing appear more mysterious. The men in Pretty Grim decided they wanted to be blacked up mainly so that nobody from work would recognise them and give them grief. The women started off by painting their faces with intricate patterns but as this was somewhat time-consuming they opted for masks to hide their identity. It’s also easier to get changed afterwards – there’s nothing worse that being stuck with the Ozzy Ozborne look for the next 3 days!


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DSirQF_KCKY  

Ifound a peice of dancing on you tube of our dancers ,though not in out town ,for you to watch ,so click and enjoy .....

Have Blessed Sunday everyone ,with love from

 

43 comments:

jaymact1 said...

Its great when you happen upon something like this I think it is more enjoyable this way. We happened on Morris Dancers when we were in Suffock two years ago and that was the first time I had seen anything like this.   Have a blessed Sunday. Love Joan.

brodietrish said...

I have only heard of Morris dancers before your entry. It seems the same kind of thing but without the hankies and bells. Love Pat x

ukgal36 said...

fascinating..never heard of it before..
Lyn

marainey1 said...

I know that a SMILE reveals a lot in a person for sure.  It's great that people continue to do things that remind us of the past.  When we don't know the backround behind it all, it seems pretty silly, but you've given us a good history lesson here this morning.  When you think about the work they do to put on something like that, you've got to give them alot of credit.  Glad you had fun and also that you took the time to share it with us.  'On Ya' - ma

mariealicejoan said...

Ohhhh, I had never heard of Molly Dancers!  Now I have!  Thanks so much for this very informative and entertaining post!  I really enjoyed it and learning about the Molly dancers!  Looks like you had a great time!
Marie
http://journals.aol.co.uk/mariealicejoan/MariesMuses/

dklars said...

Very interesting.  You always provide the greatest lessons in your journal.  Thanks for sharing!
~~Kath~~

emabecmar said...

I have never heard of this before, but it is so fascinating to watch. TY for sharing it with us. ((((hugs))))))
Cindy

ally123130585918 said...

Jan I had never heard of the Molly Dancers ~ found it very interesting ~ Good for Debbie joining in sound like she had fun ~ loved the pictures ~ Ally x
http://journals.aol.co.uk/jaymact1/joans-musings-book-journal./


nightmaremom said...

Never heard of this... but interesting.. very interesting.  You go Debbie!  LOL
thanks for the info...
love ya
d

lanurseprn said...

What a fun thing to just happen to find. I loved watching the video and seeing your pics. So colorful!! Thanks for sharing it!
Pam

oddb0dkins said...

Great entry Jan. Quirky doesn't really cover it, lol. B. x

lsfp1960 said...

That was fun !  I watched the video and looked at your pictures..I'd never heard of them before.  Thanks for sharing another bit of England's culture.  I must say they wear very colorful outfits.   Linda in Wsahington state  

hugsdoodlewacky said...

((((((((((((((HUGstOyou)))))))))))))))))Thanks for sharing your culture with me,I am glad you had a good time.Have a nice week ahead.

steviemoore83 said...

Great entry hun....Loved the vid. They're so good aren't they! Hey, I might join..it sure beats Tesco..LOL!

Lv Ste
xxxxxxx

cacklinrosie101 said...

Jan, that molly dancing is fascinating and quirky but I love the history behind it.  It also looks like the weather was quite lovely.  Hope you have a lovely Sunday evening.  Love xx Chris

seraphoflove9001 said...

Very interesting! :o) Thank you for sharing. :o)
Lisa

jennyp51 said...

I have never heard of Molly Dancers.  Very interesting.
Jenny <><

nedmoh said...

Hi Jan ,like many others I hadn't heard of Molly dancing ,looks like you had fun with Debbie joining in .,no doult you and Jason cheered her on .It was interesting to read all about it .Their outfits were very colourful .Thanks for sharing it with us ......With love Jeanxx

sybilsybil45 said...

What an exciting day you all had.  It was wonderful all these photographs. I have never heard of Molly Dancing....around here of course there are quite a few MOrris Dancers that are quite fun to watch.  Thanks for sharing it all.  Hope that you had a lovlet Sunday, the sun is shining at last !!  LOve Sybil xxx

am4039 said...

love the pictures and it sure does sound like a great day.

edwardssoapy said...

Hi Jan!

Sounds as if you had an exciting time yesterday with Debbie, Jason and Kizzie.  Like many of the other commenters, I have never heard of "Molly Dancing".  

This is a very interesting entry.  People do say "You learn new things everyday" and I certainly have!  Lovely photographs included and very interesting video from Youtube.

Have a great week ahead.
Leigh :o)
http://journals.aol.co.uk/edwardssoapy/LeighsWorld/"

erarein63 said...

Jan--- Sounds like loads of fun!  De ;)

blpltt said...

Lovely Jan; I've never ever heard of that.  There are some fascinating goings-on in Fenland !!
Bunny xx

wobblymoo said...

Eee, never heard of that, great entry and pictures

ktkamanski said...

Wow, I have never seen anything like it! Thanks for sharing! Enjoy your day!
Katie

rdautumnsage said...

I would of loved to have seen them myself in person! Thank you so much for sharing, what a wonderful ecentric tradition. (Hugs) Indigo

astoriasand said...

Sounds like you had great fun Jan and like me I maybe thought our lovely graphic worker would join in LOL.Never too old to have a laugh and participate.I think I would have been up too LOL!  Lovely colourful dispay and very imfomrmative .Thanx for sharing .Sorry for the late comment.Had company all week/end so not been online .Take Care Have a great day God Bless Kath
astoriasand http://journals.aol.co.uk/astoriasand/MYSIMPLERHYMES

jckfrstross said...

sounded like lots of fun:)

Deb

sylviam4000 said...

I love the country traditions. One of my brothers heads the local Morris Team: Great fun - especially when they've downed a pint or three!! I really enjoyed this entry. Take care.
Love & hugs
Sylvia xx
http://journals.aol.co.uk/sylviam4000/YeOldeEnglishPosy/

cornwalldreckly said...

They look rather scary!  Thanks, I had never heard of Molly Dancing before. Christine

lindapaterson177 said...

That`s really interesting thanks for that!
luv bella xx

mllevl said...

That was interesting to read Jan thanks .  Enjoyed the pics too.  Was it in Peterborough?  Eve

beckiepainton said...

are they available as security guards, they would def scare the bejeezus outta the kids!Beckiex

wfhbear said...

Jan, This was a very interesting Journal entry and pictures. I went and got Libby so she could read it too. Thanks. Regards, Bill.

astra1547 said...

Jan...
I've never heard of the molly dancers, pleased you enjoyed the day...Best wishes!

Astra!
http://journals.aol.com/astra1547/astras-new-journal/

ASTRA1547@sky.com

gaboatman said...

Jan
You taught me something here today.  I loved the pictures and enjoyed the story of how Molly Dancing came to be and what it stands for.  This was a really fun and interesting entry.  Thanks!
Sam

drb1064 said...

Love the entry, but have to say so glad you didn't have your video camera with you the site of my fat backside is bad enough in a still pic lol. It was fun but boy did my legs ache after lol.
Debbie
xxxx

faircolleen said...

I have never heard of Molly dancers.Thank you for sharing this and lol at your friend joining in. . .bet you both had a laugh.

plieck30 said...

Wow you do the most interesting things there and you said you don't drive. Is most things close. Seems the public transportation would be so much trouble to me. Maybe because my country life is so different. Your journal is always full of interesting things. paula

jlocorriere05 said...

Hi Jan,
I've never heard of Molly Dancers. It sounds fun to watch and listen to! Thanks for the info on them, we seem to have a lot of these strange little groups of people in England don't we?! Looks like Deb enjoyed the dancing too! Jeannette xx  

irisclyde said...

Informative as well as entertaining Jan!
http://journals.aol.co.uk/irisclyde/LaDolceVita

zoepaul6968 said...

hey that was interesting and the dancing was fab thanx hun zoe xx
http://journals.aol.co.uk/zoepaul6968/domestic-chaos/

lindachapmanuk said...

you do find some unusual things Jan! he he! I have never heard of molly dancers and really enjoyed this entry...Linda xx