Sunday, 2 September 2012

Rushbearing Festival - Sowerby Bridge

I spent yesterday at the market town of Sowerby Bridge in the Calder valley, around ten miles south-west of Bradford.  The town hosts an annual rushbearing festival weekend, and I can honestly say that I have never seen anything quite like it.  The festival has been held in the town since 1977 but is a revival of an ancient custom in the area of carrying rushes to church to lay on the earthen floor.  A sixteen foot high rushcart with a maiden perched on top is hauled by a team of local men wearing clogs, black trousers, white shirts and decorated panama hats up and down some seriously steep hills, stopping off at local churches, and local pubs along the route where there is much dancing and general merriment.  The rushcart is followed by a procession of clog dancers, sword dancers and musicians who entertain the crowds at each stop.  I must say that I really enjoyed the day and was exhausted at the end of it, and I wasn't even pulling the cart.  I'd just like to add that the tankards you can see hanging from the belts of the haulers are not just there for decorative purposes!

1 comment:

  1. This sounds delightful! And I love how you've shown it, with the church tower in the background and the men coming towards us along a country road.