Normal For Norfolk
The Norfolk Year holds many traditions and yearly events, here is just a selection of them........ some may seem unusual however it’s Normal for Norfolk!
The first Monday after Epiphany, East Anglia farm workers would pull a plough from house to house offering to dance for money. The procession of plough and dancers would end up at the village church where the plough would be blessed ready for the ploughing year to begin. The tradition of the dancing on plough Monday still takes place in Great Hockham, Northwold and Norwich.
The tradition of the mischievous Mr Jack Valentine visiting children on February 14th to knock on their door and run away leaving gifts on the doorstep only happens in Norfolk and was a favourite of mine as a child as I remember waiting in anticipation for the knock on the door and running to see if I could catch a sight of him!
At its peak you would find in the fields between Boughton & Wereham one of the biggest sales of horses in Europe with around 10,000 horses, nowadays it is remembered yearly in Downham by a procession through the town led by a shire horse.
Norwich’s fabulous dragon festival now takes place in February, however originally a dragon called snap would be paraded through the streets of Norwich on April 23rd, some of the original snap dragons used are still available on show to see in the Norwich Castle.
On May Day at 5.20am, Morris men dance at Mousehold Heath and at the Cathedral in Norwich, also at the highest point at Knights Hill roundabout in Kings Lynn to welcome the first rays of the dawn sun.
The Royal Norfolk Show in Norwich held every year is the largest two-day agricultural show in the country, Norfolk Country Cottages will be there, if you plan to attend come and say hello.
East Anglia has its own form of dance known as stepdancing, similar to tap dance and danced on a wooden board known to be particularly popular with the Cromer Lifeboat Crew and every July the East Anglia Traditional Music Trust holds a stepdance day at Worlingworth.
St Benets Abbey is a ruined Abbey on the River Bure said to be haunted for 364 days of the year until the first Sunday of August when the Bishop of Norwich will arrive by Wherry in flowing embroidered robes and golden mitre, to lead a congregation of hundreds.
On September 11th the heritage open day programme at Ludham holds it last free day of the year to see the Wherry Albion, one of the two surviving trading barges built especially for the Broads.
Fishing nets are draped across the pulpit and hung from the walls at Great Yarmouth minster for the yearly blessing of the nets ceremony. This dates back to the medieval times when fisherman would ask for holy protection and good fortune.
Christmas comes early in Norfolk when more than 130,000 people travel from all over the country to the Norfolk village of Thursford with a population of around 100 people to see the phenomenon that is the Thursford Christmas Spectacular. A truly fantastic show, you must come and see.
A tradition by many all around the world is to listen to the Queens speech on Christmas day and the first ever was held at Sandringham in 1932, even today Her Royal Majesty The Queen chooses to come to her Norfolk home to spend the Christmas Break.