But first a little tidbit. I can't remember where I read about the origin of Goodbye.
It started out as "God be with you." Phrases inevitably become shortened, "God be wi' ye." and so on.
Anyhoo. The other morning I was watching Morris Dancers. When people all over the world think of English folk dance, does anything come to mind? I doubt it. When you think of Spain, India, Greece, Thailand all sorts of traditional costumes and dances spring to mind.
Why has England lost its lyrical and musical heritage? The Irish still sing ballads, play instruments, and dance their reels. The Welsh still fill the hills with song. The Scots still love a good jig and the bagpipe shows no sign of fading. Furthermore, the Gaelic language has undergone a huge revival in Wales. Many school-age Welsh children can switch smoothly between English and Gaelic, so well done them.
What the hell happened to England???
Morris dancing very nearly died out but thankfully some small villages try to preserve the old traditions like summer fairs and the Maypole dance on the green. Morris has its origins in ancient pre-Christian ritual, and so in the 19th century it was spurned by the mainstream as being a bit too pagan. I suspect the modernising English man began to think it was a bit effete, leaping about on the grass with a load of men dressed in white, waving white hankies, and jingling the bells on their ankles...
You see? Good Morris images are rather hard to find...
Here they are dancing with sticks which they clap together in various patterns. It's called the Bean-something or other, because it is for the bean planting season. Knocking the end of the stick in the ground symbolises planting the bean.
Women do clog dancing and molly dancing. Please, please visit this page, it is full of wonderful images: Brighton's Morris Day. (opens new window.) I want you to see that this can still happen in England!
I hope the next generation grows up appreciating the past rather than trying to ignore it. History is NOT naff. If you lose your heritage, it is gone forever, be it language, music, song, costume, myth and legend...
People may undervalue so called "heritage" preserved for tourist enjoyment, but consider the possibility that if it were not for the tourists showing an interest, many cultures might have lost their traditions. For instance, few Japanese show an interest in the No opera today, but it is the wide-eyed tourists who keep it alive.
A number of Oriental artisanal skills have been dying a slow death, but now with a renewed interest from the West, it goes to show that Japan's isolationism will not preserve its culture. So many Westerners are learning the Eastern arts, taking it global. So what if there is dilution or integration? At least it will still exist, and in this age of knowledge it is not difficult to discover the true origins of an art.
Anyway, I didn't mean to rant and I have taken you on a huge tangent, but I hope you have enjoyed the journey!