East Kent tradition continues with modern take

Hoodening reimagined by Goldsmiths for an Amazon fulfilment centre
 
 
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Tag:
Folk

Industry:
Books

Location:
St Nicholas-at-Wade - Kent - England

Subject:
Events

ST NICHOLAS-AT-WADE, U.K. - Dec. 5, 2019 - PRLog -- Hoodening is an ancient calendar custom, which has been performed in East Kent for over 200 years. The first reference in print was in 1735, but there are indications that similar practices were part of pre-Christian pagan life 1000 years earlier.

Hoodeners were primarily agricultural labourers, often working in ploughing teams. They used to visit pubs and the houses of large landowners during the fallow season of winter, to renew social bonds and ask for "largesse": beer and cake, or sometimes money. They would entertain their hosts with general horseplay, and sometimes songs.

What makes Hoodeners unique is their use of a Hooden Horse - a wooden horse's head, on a pole, with hessian sacking under which the 'animator' would hide to impersonate a real horse. Nowadays the Hoodeners will generally perform a play, involving some form of 'death and resurrection' theme, and collect money for charity.

The oldest group, the St Nicholas-at-Wade with Sarre Hoodeners, write a new play (and new songs) every year, full of humorous topical references both to the local area and to national or international events. One of their members has been playing his part ("Molly", a man-woman) for over fifty years. The group has appeared in numerous books and magazines throughout the world, including Vogue.

This year they are collecting for two local appeals: "Abi's Arm" - a young lady born without a lower arm, who hopes to become "bionic" - and Louie's Helping Hands, a charity supporting children aged 2-11 with multi-sensory impairments and physical difficulties.

The tradition is also being reimagined by the Post Workers Theatre at Goldsmiths Design Department: at the "Auto-hoodening" event on 9 December, "George" from the Hoodeners, George Frampton (author of the definitive book "Discordant Comicals - The Hooden Horse of East Kent" published by Ozaru Books, http://ozaru.net/ozarubooks, ISBN 978-0-9931587-7-3), and others will discuss how the custom could be reinterpreted in the context of modern workers in an Amazon warehouse.

Ozaru Books is based in St Nicholas-at-Wade, and has issued several books focused on the local area. Its author, George Frampton, "stalked" various groups of Hoodeners for over a decade to complete his work. He is well known as an expert in the folk song tradition, and has published several other works on lesser known English folk customs.

Note for Editors

Photographs of the horses, the author, and the book are available, as well as some video clips. Some historical photographs are also available (some can be found on the Hoodening website, which also has details of this year's performance schedule).

Contact
Ben Jones
***@ozaru.net
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Tags:Folk
Industry:Books
Location:St Nicholas-at-Wade - Kent - England
Subject:Events
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