Gallery: Ramsey Straw Bear Festival
RAMSEY Straw Bear Festival took place on Monday, the first Monday after Twelfth Night, known as Plough Monday with children from Ramsey Juniors, Ashbeach St Mary s and Wisbech Primary Schools taking part. The youngsters processed from through Ramsey and p
RAMSEY Straw Bear Festival took place on Monday, the first Monday after Twelfth Night, known as Plough Monday with children from Ramsey Juniors, Ashbeach St Mary's and Wisbech Primary Schools taking part.
The youngsters processed from through Ramsey and put on a display of Molly dancing on the Abbey Green.
The tradition, thought to go back to the Middle Ages in Ramsey and Whittlesey, celebrates the start of the ploughing season. The ground was still hard, there was not much work to do and many people had started to run out of food.
The ploughmen would go around their villages asking people for money or food to give to the poorest in the community. Because the men were begging, they would go in disguise and dress as women, blacking their faces with soot from the chimney.
They would be preceded by children, accompanied by a man dressed as a bear who would growl and groan and pretend to threaten people at their doors with the children pretending to restrain him. If the householders did not contribute, the ploughmen would threatened to plough up their front garden.
The headteacher at Ramsey Junior School, Deborah Hannaford told The Hunts Post: "The children thought the story was a bit like Robin Hood and like Halloween. They have been learning Molly dancing and it's important that they know about these traditions and the work that goes into growing food. At the end of the festivities the plough is blessed.