Lammas Fair

Lammas Fair

July
Although it is no longer the important trade fair it was at one time, the Lammas Fair is still held for three days every July in Exeter, England. The opening ceremonies, which date back to medieval times, include a procession from the guildhall by two sergeants carrying a blue-and-white pole decorated with flowers and ribbons, from which a large stuffed white glove is suspended. At noon, the sergeants march to the four ancient gates of the city and proclaim the fair open before returning to the guildhall, where the mayor announces the event.
The custom of displaying a glove to open the fair dates back to ancient Saxon times, when permission to hold a market or fair had to be obtained first from a local judge and then ratified by the king, who sent one of his gloves as a token of his approval. It was reinstituted in 1939, after having been discontinued for a number of years.
CONTACTS:
Exeter City Council
Civic Ct., Paris St.
Exeter, Devon EX1 1JN United Kingdom
44-13-9227-7888; fax: 44-13-9226-5265
www.exeter.gov.uk
SOURCES:
EngCustUse-1941, p. 93
YrbookEngFest-1954, p. 98
YrFest-1972, p. 166
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