What is Mumming ?
The Oxford English Dictionary defines it as “A traditional English folk play, of a type often associated with Christmas and popular in the 18th and early 19th centuries. The plot typically features Saint George and involves the miraculous resurrection of a character.
What an innocuous definition of a raucous entertainment designed especially to frighten the horses.
Mumming is not to be confused with Pace Egg
Plays (Easter time) or Wassailing (around the old
Christmas time in January) where the same
sort of play may be performed, and features the
same characters (or so) and the same dialogue
(or so)! Wassailing is a rite of fertility to be
performed outdoors in Orchards and the like.
Here in Cumbria we have Damson Orchards, so
our wassailing contributes to your Damson Gin.
(Say thank you!)
In recent years we have performed our Christmas
Mummers’ play at the Hare and Hounds Bowland
Bridge and on our Wassail Day in January. We also
do a Pace Egging Play at the Rifleman's Arms
Kendal, on St. Georges’ Day. Now a regular and
welcome addition to the Upton Folk Festival on
the early May Bank Holiday
Our version is based on the one originally from Hawkshead.
We have a great time sorting out who plays which part each time (as we swap around) and rehearsing.
Good fun is had by all and we hope our audience love it.