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Mummers, Maypoles and Milkmaids A Journey Through the English Ritual Year by Sara Hannant

Mummers, Maypoles and Milkmaids A Journey Through the English Ritual Year


Mummers, Maypoles and Milkmaids A Journey Through the English Ritual Year by Sara Hannant

In Whittlesey, Cambridgeshire, a man covered from head to toe in straw - the 'straw bear' - is paraded through the streets, accompanied by 250 dancers, musicians and performers, while in Ottery St Mary, Devon, a crowd gathers as townspeople hoist barrels of flaming tar on to their shoulders and carry them until they are too hot to handle. Award-winning photographer Sara Hannant has travelled the length and breadth of the country, capturing the seemingly bizarre regional rituals - costumed processions, symbolic dramatizations, traditional dances and fire ceremonies - that mark the changing seasons. Many of these customs claim an ancient origin, and are kept alive today by local communities. Hannant's vibrant photographs reflect her keen eye for the unexpected, offering a captivating and surprising study of English identity.


'Hannant's charming and informative photo essay brings to life this quintessentially English obsession - and she captures the warmth, drama, humour and emotion of these quaint events with an artist's eye. An oddly moving documentary.' - F22 EYES WIDE OPEN MAGAZINE 'Hannant's eyecatching, reportage-style photographs capture the mystery and eccentricity of customs which for her play such an integral role in the cultural identity of present day England ...' - THE COUNTRYMAN 'Wonderful photographs - funny, moving, lovely and very human' - Mali Morris, RA '
A picture is worth a thousand words , goes the old adage

- and that is certainly true of a new book of photographs of England's seasonal festivities captured by Sara Hannant' - A BAD WITCH'S BLOG Sara Hannant's remarkable photographs convey, with joy and compassion, the mystery, charm and exuberance of traditional english ritual.' - SHIRLEY COLLINS, PRESIDENT OF THE ENGLISH FOLK DANCE AND SONG SOCIETY 'Sara Hannant's beautiful new book... deserves to be seen widely and enjoyed.' - HUMPHREY WITH HIS FLAIL: A FOLKLORIST IN THE FIELD

About the Author

Sara Hannant has been a freelance photographer for more than 20 years. She was awarded Resurgence magazine's photography prize in 2006, and her social documentary work has appeared in the Sunday Times, The Guardian and Time Out, among other publications.

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Book Info

Publication date

27th September 2011


Sara Hannant

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Merrell Publishers Ltd


176 pages


Sociology: customs & traditions



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