Village Web Site Forum

Robin Longbottom
Oakworth
Wednesday, January 1, 2020 06:58
Mumming & First Footing
Older residents of the village will no doubt recall the old New Year traditions of Mumming and First Footing which still took place occasionally into the 1970's.

Mummers, boys dressed up like pantomime dames and girls dressed up as boys, would go from house to house traditionally to drive out evil spirits before the advent of the new year, but in reality hoping for a shilling or two from the householder. My last recollection of mummers in the village is of members of the Jackson family from Hall Way bursting into the Kings Arms - big lads dressed up in ludicrous female attire. My great aunts, Lizzie and Greta, who lived in Holmfield often recalled going mumming in the village in the early 1900's.

The tradition of First Footing took place after midnight on New Years Eve or in the morning when the first person into the house brought in a piece of coal as a symbol of warmth, prosperity and good luck. My father always insisted that it should be someone with fair hair.

A Happy New Year to one and all.
Alan Pickles
Bingley
Wednesday, January 1, 2020 19:51
Having read the latest from Robin, could this be the reason for the indecent exposure merchant in Sutton on New Year's eve?
Robin Longbottom
Oakworth
Thursday, January 2, 2020 08:19
No. Don't quite see the link here, Alan, so far as I am aware there is no connection between New Year traditions and sexual offences.
Alan Pickles
Bingley
Thursday, January 2, 2020 20:38
The dress of the offender was a corset and other female attire. Just a passing thought that someone might be using mumming as an excuse.
Maurice Atkinson
Keighley
Thursday, January 2, 2020 22:37
I can remember going mumming with my sister Irene and possibly Keith Goldsborough and Pete Dawson. Late 40s/early50s. We sometimes had our faces blacked up with soot. We would go in peoples houses with feather dusters and such like, and go round dusting their living room! Would we get away with that today? I think not!! Besides, it would interfere with "Call the Midwife", so we'd probably be shot!
Happy New Year!
Robin Longbottom
Oakworth
Friday, January 3, 2020 07:35
Thanks for your recollections Maurice. I remember my aunts talking about sweeping the old year out.

Of course, the present New Year is relatively recent. Prior to 1752 it fell on the 25th March, Lady Day. Up to that date the British Isles used the Julian Calendar, whilst the rest of Europe were on the Gregorian, hence our months from October to December were the 8th to the 10th months of the year. The 25th of March also fell close to the Spring equinox, which is about the 20th of March. So seasonally the beginning of a new year made more sense then. However, in 1752 we fell in line with the rest of Europe and adopted the Gregorian calendar. To bring us into line we lost 11 days (thus the 25th March became the 5th April - still new year for the tax man! Rents were traditionally paid on Lady Day).

Perhaps now that we are leaving Europe we will return to the Julian Calendar and get our 11 days back!
Terry Longbottom
Valley
Saturday, January 4, 2020 10:36
Hi Robin, what would you do with 11 days (circa1752), you may choose to go for a drive round your newly acquired common land with your new blue roan oxen pulling a red Ferrari plough.



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