Dancing in the month of May

CHRIS BISHOP Morris men danced in the dawn to welcome the merriest month.


Morris men danced in the dawn to welcome the merriest month.

While the origins of the tradition are somewhat lost in the mists of time, early-morning commuters on the King's Lynn bypass were greeted by the sight of the King's Morris dancing on Knights Hill roundabout to celebrate May Day.

The traffic island has been adopted as the stage for a ceremony said to originate in ancient times, as the highest point in the area.

The dawn stomp was followed by a parade of the May Day Garland through Lynn, accompanied by raucous cow horns.

Along the coast, Cromer Pier echoed to the sounds of clogs as Morris dancers trod the boards over the sea.

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It was the last port of call for the Fiddlesticks side from Norwich who began their day overlooking the city on St James Hill at 5am to dance in the dawn.

They joined forces with the Golden Star, Kemp's Men and Black Skunk sides for a tour which also took in the Forum and cathedral grounds, before they dispersed to local pubs for a hearty fried breakfast.

Fiddlesticks secretary John Dimascio said the May Day dancing was a traditional way of welcoming spring and a fertility ritual for the fields, stretching back to "time immemorial".

The side, which has women dancers using a clog style drawn from the north-west of England, also danced outside Cromer Museum before heading to the pier, and finishing their early-start day with a fish-and- chip lunch.

The time-honoured tradition failed to impress one resident at North Walsham, who called the police to complain about the noise being made by the local Weavers Morris near the Market Cross which woke him from his slumbers just after 5am.

A police spokesman said the dancers were "suitably advised".

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