Wednesday, November 9, 2011

I met a man in Beechworth...

I met a man in Beechworth...
He saw us rant and caper
"I read about a dance like this
in a little Cornish paper."

"In fact I have a copy of it
Purchased by my sister
Write me down your address and
I'll mail it 'you, young Mister."

And sure enough, here it is,
though I look at it askance,
For what on earth would make them call it
The Helston Furry Dance?

Excuse the doggerel, I was inspired after writing the title of the update.
I truly did meet a man in Beechworth, named Ken, who was kind enough to tell us we looked like we were having a great time and he'd enjoyed watching us dance.

"You folk really enjoy what you do. It shows.
Best wishes, to you and the group.
Ken T"

He mentioned that his sister had been to Cornwall and purchased a pamphlet in a little Cornish town called Helston and it described the traditions of the Helston Furry Dance, traditionally performed on May 8th to celebrate the triumph of St Michael over the Devil in a battle for the town. It's a grand processional through the town, with a song to be sung by the choir at various points about town.
"In his Tour through the whole island of Great Britain (1724-1726) Daniel Defoe observes of the Helston custom that "The Festival is called the Furry and the dance the Faddy."
"Furry possibly relates to the Latin 'feria' - a holy day or feast day."

Thankyou Ken, I'll be posting a letter to you tomorrow to thank you for your thoughtful gift.

For anyone who'd like to see the pamphlet, I'll bring it along to practice on Monday.

The Helston Furry Dance
with Map and Illustrations

by Edward M. Cunnack
Published by the Flora Day Association and Stewards of the Helston Furry Dance.

Printer;
P.S. Brewer, Helston

1 comment:

roger foster said...

Ian mundy has a lot to say abot the Furry dance. He only missed it by inches on his 2010 UK tour with AMM.