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What is 'The Morris'
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Otford Morris dancing is an ancient seasonal pagan ritual male custom associated with the bringing of luck, the fertility and regeneration of the soil, and the promotion of the cycle of the seasons. The form of the dance varies with geographical location and each village has its own distinctive tradition or style of dances. The Mayflower Morris Men perform mainly the Cotswold Morris with its characteristic white handkerchiefs, sticks and bells.

The dances have been passed down through the generations and even today cannot be learned from books. In days gone by, competition was keen among the village youths to join the Morris and it was a great honour to be selected to dance.

The Morris almost died out at the end of the 19th century when Cecil Sharp, the folk-song and dance collector, discovered just four village Morris sides left. Thanks to him, a revival of interest resulted in the existence today of over 250 English Morris sides. In the dances there'll be much jingling of bells and stick-clashing to frighten away the evil spirits, and high capers will encourage Mother Earth to ensure the crops grow tall in the coming harvest. There'll be much primæval energy and magic in the air - so be sure to partake of the good luck generated and contribute to the Bag to help keep a quintessential part of English rural tradition alive.

For further information, visit The Morris Ring Website.