Today is Whit Friday. If that means nothing to you it's hardly surprising, because it's not exactly near the top of the league for big religious festivals these days. It's not even on the same level as Epiphany, let alone Easter.
Everywhere that is, except Saddleworth. Here Whit Friday is the biggest day of the year, with every village holding a Whit Walk and service in the morning, and then a brass band contest in the afternoon and evening. Why the tradition of celebrating Whit Friday has survived here and nowhere else is not exactly clear, but survived it has. And having moved into the area earlier this year, today was our first Whit Friday in Saddleworth.
With Mrs J off work, we took G up to the middle of our nearest village, Dobcross, in time for the service in the square at 10 o'clock. The picture at the top shows the Dobcross Silver Band marching in. The whole village seemed to be there, and after a few hymns and readings we all walked off behind the band down to Uppermill where bands and walkers from all over the area met for another service. Everyone gets a break now before the serious business of the contests begins later, accompanied by lots of drinking.
The Dobcross Youth Band were there this morning too, with some very junior members who didn't look all that much older than G. If we stay in this area, hopefully we'll be back in years to come to watch G all dressed up and wielding a trombone or something similar. She certainly seemed to enjoy her first experience of it.
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