The Fairy Procession
Every year, round about the last weekend of November, the village of Haworth celebrates the festival of ‘Scroggling the Holly’ held to honour holly, once used as winter fodder for cattle and sheep, and the start of Christmas. ‘Scroggle’ is claimed to be a celtic word for gift, and in Haworth’s scroggling ceremony, the holly, gathered each year at the end of November, is taken up to the church to mark the start of the festive season.
The actual celebration runs over two days, the first day seeing a procession of ‘Fairies’ from the village, led by the King of the Fairies, up the steep cobbled main street of the village to the village Church.. Musical entertainment is provided by a choir and a brass band, both performing traditional carols . On the second day a Holly Queen with her attendants, ushers and little sweeps, all selected from the children of the village, process up the winding main village street from the huge Christmas tree at the bottom of the hill to the church at the top. The little Queen and her attendants lead the procession in their pony and trap. They bear the gathered holly to the church, being joined in their procession by a great colourful assembly of village children, all dressed Dickensian style, plus Morris Dancers and adult villagers dressed Victorian fashion in keeping with the style of the village. When the procession reaches the Church, the little Queen is crowned on the steps in front of the suitably decorated and be-ribboned church gates. As the bearer of the Keys to Christmas, she, helped by her attendants, unlocks the gates of Christmas to welcome Santa Claus and his helpers and present the gift of holly to Father Christmas who can then signal the start of the Christmas festivities by inviting the spirit of Christmas into Haworth.
A sweet ‘legend’, which probably has more foundation in the commerce of Christmas than in either the pagan history or the actual spiritual meaning of Christmas, but which still provides a treasured memory for all the children who took part. Today’s picture shows this year’s King of the Fairies leading some of the little fairies up the cobbled main street to the Church.
- Nikon D800