Sunday, January 08, 2012

Millbrook Mumming

There's a minor argument to be had about when twelfth night actually is. Sensible people adhere to the traditionalists' view that as Christmas Eve is undeniably "first night", twelfth night must be January fifth.

Others argue that Christmas Day's evening constitutes the first night of Christmas and therefore twelfth night must be January sixth .

Wreckers Morris says - "arse to all that, we'll just make use of the nearest available Friday to either of those dates and celebrate then."

All of which brings me to the goings on at the Devon and Cornwall during the night of misrule instigated by us folk of the morris last Friday (which, as luck would have it, was the sixth - so at least one side of the minor argument must have been satisfied). So, lovers of shambolic Olde Englishe/Kernowek traditions, read on. . .

The night began with a couple of tunes, at least one of which featured the long-absent from these pages Harry "Ukulele" Barnett.
Through sheer good fortune, Harry also ended up being crowned as King of Misrule for the night by the Green Man.
Swiftly following the coronation, the mumming began as a riot of non-actors enacted utter nonsense featuring characters such as Betty Stoggs . . .
. . .and Beelzebub who battled long and hard with Meryll Sherry (any resemblance to an occasionally inebriated local MP is entirely coincidental).
Beelzebub won in the end (as he always does in mumming plays, quaint-country-custom fans) and Merryl Sherry hit the floor.
There was, of course, a doctor on hand to revive the stricken Merryl . . .
. . .using the finest medicine available over the bar.
With the mumming completed, the King and Queen of Misrule sat upon their thrones as the dancing commenced.
Almost lastly, but very far from least, everyone's favourite landlord was recognised as exactly that by the Lord of Misrule himself Wrichard Wrecker.

Russell was awarded a Wreckers Morris mug and a certificate naming the Devon and Cornwall as the provider of the best food and the warmest welcome of all the places we danced at in 2011.
At the very last, the crowns of the royal family of misrule were ceremonial burned along with the kissing bough (by now adorned with ribbon wishes from lots of people crowded around the bar).
And that, my friends, is what constitutes a twelfth night celebration in Millbrook. Whether it's the fifth or the sixth of January.

Perhaps you'd like to come along next year when something similar (but perhaps with minor tweaks) will occur once again. Huzzah!


Mrs TheMillbrooker said...

If Christmas Eve was counted as the first day of Christmas, Twelfth Night would be January 4th. January 5th is the 12th day counting from Christmas Day, therefore Twelfth Night is the night of January 5th. January 6th is quite definitely not Twelfth Night unless you don't include Christmas Day itself, which would be daft. But that's the Morris for you...

The Millbrooker said...

I stand corrected and now realise that I can't count. Arse.

Judith said...

I always think of Twelfth Night as January 5th. January 6th is the day for taking down the Christmas decorations and putting them away for another year.