Friday, February 13, 2009

This is for my sister...

...although I am sure many others will enjoy it too! (turn up the sound)

Flamborough Sword Dancing has been a tradition in the village for over 100 years, although no-one seems to agree on exactly when it began. I believe that traditionally it was danced by fishermen. I doubt that the ones in this video are all fishermen, since fishing is no longer a viable means of livelihood - but they are all wearing a fisherman's 'Gansey.'

A Gansey is a distinctive woollen sweater, originally designed to provide protection for fishermen from wind and water but which is ideal for all outdoor activity. Using a tightly spun 5-ply worsted wool (popularly known as "Seamen's Iron") the intricately patterned Gansey is knitted in one piece on five steel needles.

These days, the Flamborough Sword Dance team's main tradition is to tour the village on Boxing Day - an event which involves the meeting of dancers, a practice walk through (with inevitable arguments) and collecting money. The tour of the Pubs in the village finishes in Dog and Duck Square, which involves banter and encouragement from villagers and friends. The dance is a part of this happy event but it is only a part. (I am assuming the other part is the consuming of perhaps large amounts of beer -- only to keep warm, of course)

This video is taken right in Flamborough and brings back wonderful memories for me -- maybe for my sister, too!


  1. Wonderful Kay! I sat there with a smile on my face all the way through. Such a typical scene and sound -- and weather too by the looks of it. Great post!

  2. Yes, and I did lots of toe-tapping too!