11 September 2010 - Hop Hoodening, Canterbury

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Words supplied by our special correspondent from the wilds of Scotland.
Original photographs by Rosie Leitch. Reproduced with permission.

Each September, Hop Hoodening, a celebration of the hop harvest, is marked by a service held in Canterbury Cathedral when a bine of hops is blessed. For more information on Hop Hoodening, visit the Wantsum Morris web site.

Kettle Bridge Clogs were delighted and honoured to be invited once again to take part in the 2010 celebrations. The day began by assembling with other participating sides in the Cathedral Precincts. From here, we processed into the Cathedral, to the tune of "Winster Processional", led by the Hop Queen and her Princess.

The service featured hymns and readings, including one from the Lord Mayor of Canterbury, and a performance of the dance "Broad Cupid" given by Wantsum Morris. The Precentor blessed the hops and this was followed by prayers and a final hymn, Lord of the Dance. Musicians and dancers then led a procession back out to the precincts, where we were rewarded with a complimentary glass of Cathedral Ale.

Each side was then invited to perform a show dance after which the dancers divided into three groups to tour and dance around different locations within the city. After lunch in the Dominican Priory, all sides assembled for a procession through Canterbury, ending in Rose Square. Here, all sides in turn gave a further display of their best dances.

This was a truly memorable day. Particular thanks are due to the members of Wantsum Morris for organising the day’s events around the city.