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British Life & Culture

Calendar of Special Events & Celebrations

by Mandy Barrow

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Morris Dancing

Morris Dancing is a traditional English form of folkdancing, performed by groups of men or women. It has been danced for hundreds of years, and passed down through the generations in the villages of rural England. The dances are usually performed at festivals such as May Day, Whitsun and Christmas.

There are several thoughts to the origins of Morris Dancing. The name may refer to the possibility of the form of dancing coming to England from the Moors of North Africa; or it may have been called 'Moor-ish' simply because the dancers sometimes painted their faces black, and people compared this to the dark-skinned Moors.


The Morris Dancers hold hankies in their hands, or sticks, and have bell-pads tied at their knees, which make a loud and cheerful rhythm as they dance.

Introduction to May Day | Maypole Dancing | Morris Dancing

May Day in the Past | May Day Today | Well Dressing

Back to folklore and facts about the month of May


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Mandy is the creator of the Woodlands Resources section of the Woodlands Junior website. 
The two websites and are the new homes for the Woodlands Resources.

Mandy left Woodlands in 2003 to work in Kent schools as an ICT Consulatant. 
She now teaches computers at The Granville School and St. John's Primary School in Sevenoaks Kent.