The tradition, or folk custom, of hoodening has been going on in many counties and remote areas. The tradition is one where a person who is on a hobby-horse and has a cloth made from old sacks placed over them like a giant hood. The earliest reference to this tradition was first recorded around 200 years ago. The hooded one is accompanied by a group who guide and direct them around obstacles. Many festival based activities, such as games and parties may take place as the hooded one and the guide party make their way around the area. The time frame for this event is normally in the spring time, before the seeds and crops are planted for this years harvest. This has given credence to the belief that some have said about the tradition being connected to the harvest, but this has not been proven one way or the other. Many records that indicate why this tradition has started or the exact date it should be performed have been lost.

Variations on this tradition can be found throughout the land. Some have the hooded one chosen by lucky draw, others the person whose birthday falls on the day. Another is that guide party must be made of the opposite gender. Each village and area that practices this has their own version of this tradition. For the vast majority of people it is simply a time for fun and merriment and coming together. Some places have the tradition take at Christmas/Yule as a form of year-end celebration.

Hooks & Rumours

  • After some attacks made on locals whilst the assailants were wearing these hoods, a village has banned the tradition. A campaign is underway to allow it to continue
  • A variation on this tradition has emerged where the escort party goes on a pub crawl, drinking one drink in each pub in the local area. The belief is that for every circuit and drink consumed, the greater the harvest will be at harvest time. Others say it’s just an excuse for a drink-up
  • There is some drama about the latest choice to be the “hooded one” at the next festival. Claims are being made that money has changed hands as opposed to the traditional lucky draw method.
  • Some belive it will bring bad luck if the hood ever falls off the hooded one. One village has had bad harvests, plagues and bandit attacks for the last year after the hood fell off at the last observance of this tradition.
  • Records have been discovered that indicate that this tradition is in fact related to a form of ritual sacrifice of the hooded one after they have been paraded around the local area. The guide party was to insure that the sacrifice didn’t escape. There is a belief that somewhere far away in a remote valley is a village that still practices this form of sacrifice.

Inspired by : Hoodening

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