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Hoodening

From Academic Kids

Hoodening is an East Kent tradition vaguely related to Mumming and the Morris dance, and dating back at least to the mid-18th century. It was centred on the ploughing teams at farms in and around Thanet, although groups also existed in Deal which were more related to the seamen, and who concentrated on performing music. The common feature to all groups was the appearance of a Hooden Horse - a wooden horse's head mounted on a pole, with a sackcloth attached to hide the bearer. The head would normally have a hinged jaw which could snap shut with a mighty crack.

The groups would tour the area in the period leading up to Christmas (or the Winter Solstice), engaging in tomfoolery (horseplay) at local landowners' houses and requesting 'largesse', i.e. funds to tide them over the slack period of the year.

Despite occasional breaks, the tradition is a living one, and is currently performed by several teams around East Kent. The money raised is now normally given to charity.

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