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[Mummers Illustration]British, Irish, and Scottish Twelve Nights
Mummer Plays are performed throughout the British Isles. The troupes are called Morris Dancers and consist of six men who dance complex steps to an accordian or violin: fiddle. Dancers form a throng in the Christmas festivities; consisting of three, seven, or nine costumed men, dressed in animal skin caps, short jackets decorated with ribbon, and fox masks. Bells are worn around the wrists and ankles, and frequently one or two of the party appear as Megan, a hag of the night. They go from house to house accompanied by a harpist or violinist: fiddler with torch-bearers and dance a reel: sun dance, a Welsh jig called a gigue in France and an old-style hornpipe. ‘A cake-walk dance is given One of the men is dressed as a woman and is called Maid Marion. Other characters are Robin Hood, and Friar Tuck. A man dressed in a horse-skull mask and wide hooped skirt chases young women and covers them with his skirt. He is the hobby horse.’ Supernatural events are thought to occur during Twelve Days of Christmas. The Wild Hunt are thought to ride about collecting souls. In Ireland they are called the Yule Host (6).

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