mumming play

mumming play,

form of drama developed in England in the early 17th cent., based on the legend of St. George and the dragon. The central theme of the play is the death and resurrection of the hero. The mumming play possibly evolved from some primitive folk celebration. However, it is most closely associated with the medieval sword dance, which symbolized the reawakening of the earth from the death of winter. During the Christmas season a few English villages still present the mumming play.


See A. Brody, English Mummers and Their Plays (1971).

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The New Year's Day mumming play is their main event of the year.
The Ampleforth sword dance and mumming play involves the ritual beheading of the musician and then bringing him back to life, a pre-Christian ceremony denoting the killing of the old and the birth of the new year.
It remains uncertain whether the English folk drama known as the mumming play coexisted with the drama of Shakespeare's age.
THE Wooldale Werewolf returned to Holmfirth last week when the Lydgate Mummers staged a special alfresco mumming play as part of Holmfirth Arts Festival.
Work with the Holme Valley Sharing Memories Group has led to the production of a traditional mumming play which is to be performed at Holmfirth Arts Festival in July.
Pupils put on a Mumming play showcasing folklore legends such as the Wooldale werewolf, dragons and Giant Jack Frost.
Entertainment included demonstrations of pastimes and skills that once filled daily life, including music, dancing and mumming plays.
From there Sponsler moves to an examination of the mumming plays Lydgate created for London's guilds, pointing out the way in which "Lydgate's entertainments for the Mercers and Goldsmiths can be seen as festive interventions into this complex set of relations between London and the continent" (44).
These are some of the characters featured in the long-standing tradition of Christmas Mumming plays and the Coventry Mummers are touring the county to stage these carefully preserved examples of English ritual drama.
Entertainment will include a host of morris dance teams in the Cotswold, North-west and Border styles along with Rapper Dancers and traditional Yorkshire Longsword sides, as well as brass bands, belly dancers and traditional mumming plays.
Easter is a traditional time for Morris dancers to perform Pace Egg plays - similar to the Mumming plays performed at Christmas.