Monday, April 24, 2006

A Blog for St. George

I clean forgot til I popped over to Grumpy Goat's blog (magnificent profile!) that yesterday was St. George's Day.

We used to live in a village in the northwest of England. Once a year, on the nearest Saturday to April 23rd, we used to celebrate A Day for St George, when teams of morris men would come from miles around to dance through the streets (and the 11 pubs) waving hankies and handing out fertility cake. It was always a lovely, relaxed, giggly sort of day, and the sun usually put in an appearance at some point, and only an occasional token wetting.

Our morris men practised weekly at the community centre, on Tuesday evenings at 9 p.m. I remember this because when Habibibaba was about five, he was completely enchanted by them one St George's Day, and declared that he wanted to be a morris boy So I took him to a practice.

The men were very sweet about this (Ha! I just thought! Morris Minor! Yay! OK sorry, forgot my medication.) and let him stay, and taught him some steps. He had a lovely time, and never mind that I didn't have a camera. I have to confess though, to blighting my son's initiation into male ritual, because I, I mean he, couldn't stay up so late and get up for school the next day. Shame.

Our village was in the process of becoming part of a conurbation, with ribbon development the length of both top and bottom roads from Bolton, but it still had its pubs, and folk club, and local events in the schools, the community centre and the leisure centre. We had good friends there, and were happy.

By the way, it's always been said that 'morris' derives from 'moorish' referring to gypsy entertainers who travelled across Europe in the Middle Ages. When I got here, and saw men in white linking arms and waving a handkerchief as they performed the dybbka, I realised it was probably true.


grapeshisha said...

the morris/moorish comment is amazingly insightful. Never thought of that before! (not that I'd try any of them!)

nzm said...

Morris Minor - you kill me!

There were actually some of those still alive on the roads in Mauritius. It took me back to my days of learning how to drive in my Austin A40 Farina.

Like GS - great to learn of the connection between Morris and Moorish.

MamaDuck said...

OK here's another one! When I got here, the call to prayer and recital of the Quran seemed somehow familiar, although I'd never lived near a mosque.Then I read somewhere that the musical roots of the sung Latin Mass and Gregorian chant I grew up with are in Middle-Eastern music. As the early missionaries spread the Christian faith through Europe and North Africa, they also spread the pre-literacy aide-memoire of singing/chanting long tracts, and the musical form itself stuck. I'm persuaded for two reasons: first, whatever Gregorian chant is, it certainly isn't straight out of medieval European music, indicating an overlay of something else; and second, though it must be over 30 years since my last sung Latin mass, but I can still sing a lot of it from memory!

nzm said...

That's cool info!

I can still sing the (old) Lord's prayer, the Nicene creed and Communion - and it's also got to be 30 years since I did that! :-)

Grumpy Goat said...

"magnificent profile!"
Ooh, thanks! [blush!]