Saturday, June 19, 2010

Midsummer Watch Parade, Chester, UK

Chester, which is world famous for its Mystery Plays (associated with Whitsuntide), also celebrates the coming Summer Solstice with a parade that can be traced back five centuries to 1498. It was then that when Richard Goodman was mayor of the town that the city guilds organized the procession, to be held in the years that the Mystery Plays were not performed.

Of special note in this parade, all the way back to 1498, is the presence of 'giants' – enormous structures made of cardboard and buckram and carried by two men – which were a fairly standard feature of Tudor-period pageantry in England and Europe. However, Chester outshone them all as it paraded a whole family of giants. The crowd also enjoyed, then as now, processing creatures such as a unicorn, elephant, camel and dragon. Until the Puritan 16th Century, when the practice was banned, the dragon was beaten by six naked boys.

Today according to Australian Eastern Standard Time when this item was posted

The Midsummer Watch also features parading guildsmen, jesters, and children in costume – angels, goblins and green men ...

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