I had not come across whit Friday until I moved to these parts 23 years ago, I had heard of whit, and whit sunday, but this friday thing was a new one to me. Whit Friday is 8 weeks after Good Friday. The day begins about 9.30am with people from the various local churches meeting up at our local market area, (this varies depending on which village/town you are in) A short service is held, a song is sung and a prayer is said, then each congregation lines up behind its own church banners and (very important) its brass band and once everyone is assembled, which can take quite a while to gather all the children in as you can imagine, they proceed to ‘walk’ their own church parish bounderies around the town. During which, the streets are lined with people enjoying the spectical. When the procession comes down the road with the colourful banners held high and the band playing, it makes the hair stand up on the back of my neck. I have come to love this day just as the locals do. People will buy an special whit friday outfit to wear and will look their best. The one topic of conversation leading up to whit friday is the weather, and this week it has not looked good, with forecasts of thunderstorm and low tempretures, but hey, the day has dawned and look at the sky!
Its cracking the flags as they say around here.
But wait, the whit walks are not the only thing about this day, later when the walks are over, people head off for lunch and a pleasant afternoon (I will be off to a lunch time party in my friends garden), then, this afternoon, games and sports are put on for the children, and then, at 5 pm If you are anywhere in this area, you will hear the sound of brass bands starting up, and for many, this is the main event, the brass band contests, of which there are many. Bands travel from all over the country and indeed abroad, to take part. Each band travels around the area in a coach and they go from contest to contest through out the evening, this carries on till about midnight, At each venue, which is always in the open air, the band will sign in, line up and when it is their turn, they will parade playing their marching piece, then silently move into position and play their contest piece which last about 3 or 4 minutes,surrounded by throngs of people. Hidden away, in either a caravan with blanked out windows or a building, there will be a team of judges listening, not knowing which band it is, unless they can guess by the cheering of the crowd as a favorite band arrives.
It is a happy, joyous day, which involves the whole community, a day when families and friends get together and enjoy a tradition that binds these little towns and villages together, magic.
If that link dosn’t work, either google whit Friday for more info, if you are interested, or watch “Brassed Off”, some of which was filmed in a nearby village.
I will be taking my camera along for posting piccis later, byeeee.
Update 11.45am: My feet are killing me – wore the wrong shoes and forgot sun hat, but did remember the bottle of water, so that was something. Here we are just after setting off heading down one of the main streets.
You can see some of the church banners in the distance. In our town there are seven churches that take part, the procession that you can see is part of, is just one of the churches procession, so that gives you an idea of the size of it.
The views are always lovely views around here as it is so hilly.
All for now, off to my friends for lunch, will try and get some piccis of the bands later on.