Clipping the Church Day

Clipping the Church Day

First Sunday in July
The old English custom of "clipping the church" entails embracing the church by joining hands around it and performing a simple dance step, advancing and retreating three times. In Guiseley, Yorkshire, the custom traditionally was observed on St. Oswald's Day, August 5, but now takes place in July, during the Festival of Guiseley. There is a special service followed by a procession outside the church where all sing "St. Oswald's Ballad."
In other areas of England, it is observed on whatever day is appropriate to the church calendar. Sometimes a "puppy-dog pie"—a round cake with almond paste on top and a small china dog inside—is baked on the day of the church-clipping ceremony.
Some observers believe that this custom dates back to the ancient pagan festival known as the Lupercalia, which included a sacred dance around the altar and the sacrifice of goats and young dogs—hence the puppy-dog pie. At one time it was customary for children to run through the streets after the clipping ceremony crying, "Highgates!"
CONTACTS:
St. Oswald's Parish Church
Church St.
Guiseley, Yorkshire LS20 9BE United Kingdom
44-19-1383-0830
www.oswalds.org.uk
SOURCES:
EngCustUse-1941, p. 5