I THOUGHT MORRIS WAS FOR MEN?
Nothing could be further from the truth, as to a greater or lesser degree women have been involved with the Morris throughout history.
There is evidence of women being involved in the Morris from the early days, but in the 1800s it was the working-class man who filled most of the Morris ‘sets’.
In the early years of the Morris Ring, they were ‘anti’ Carnival Morris, and this was corrupted over the years to mean ‘against women dancing Morris’.
Today there are mixed-sex and single-sex Sides - we all dance with each other and just enjoy dancing for each other and raising money for charity.
Rickmansworth Canal Festival 2009
WHY DO YOU DANCE WITH STICKS?
In reality, no idea! It is possible that sticks and scarves replaced swords, but this is only conjecture.
Sticks or staves were more readily available than swords would have been, so it seems that this theory could hold water, but it must be stressed that it is only a theory.
It has as much validity as the idea that the banging of sticks and jangling of bells would ward away evil spirits, which is another popular theory.
WHY DO YOU DANCE WITH HANKIES?
Again, no real answer, but we do dance a very old dance where the hankies are tied together, so, following the same principle as for ‘sticks’, it is just possible that swords were replaced by scarves (safer and much less expensive) and then one day a dancer forgot his scarf and tied his hankies together.
Again, simply a theory - but it sounds convincing.
WHY DO YOU COLLECT FOR CHARITY?
We have a good time dancing, and when we go to a Folk Festival we dance for nothing.
Collecting money has, however, always been part of the Morris tradition (see MORRIS), and it is nice to think that we can do something useful and benefit the local community as well as enjoying ourselves.
Welcome to Phoenix Morris