All jokes aside, the photo-sharing platform is where you’ll find a huge number of Morris sides these days, and we watched gleefully throughout the day as many of them posted their pics and videos. We’ve rounded up some of our favourites below. If you like what you see, give the sides a follow. And remember, you’ll find us on Instagram, too, by clicking this link.
Why do Morris dancers dance on Boxing Day?
Like so many things to do with Morris dancing, the whys and wherefores behind the dances are up for continued debate. However, one suggestion is that Boxing Day (or St Stephen’s Day, as December 26th is also known) presented the dancers with a good opportunity to, “solicit cash and comforts from the gentry before the hunt.” A more simple explanation might be that Boxing Day was a holiday, and therefore a good chance to fill the coffers when the boss wasn’t looking.
Although not a reason for the tradition, it’s worth noting that Cecil Sharp first came across Morris dancers on Boxing Day, 1899, while staying with friends in Headington, near Oxford. His interest was piqued by the Headington Quarry Morris side, performing outside, and he collected some of the tunes from William Kimber, the side’s musician. Some historians point to this moment as being key to the Morris revival.
Boxing Day Morris dances, 2021
Here are some of the pics that caught our eye. Oh, and we’ve thrown a few mummers in there, too, just for good measure.