Molly good fun for East Cambs residents

THE district’s molly dancers were out in force again this week, as the centuries-old tradition of Plough Monday was joyfully observed.

A dozen molly men from the Mepal Molly side began the day’s festivities at 8am in Ely before heading off on a tour of schools, pubs and villages across East Cambridgeshire.

The dancers dropped in at Mepal, Sutton and Haddenham Primary Schools in the morning to demonstrate their routines and teach the children about the significance of the event.

In the afternoon, the group visited pubs in Little Downham, Ely, Chatteris and Haddenham as well as Wardy Hill and Coveney.

Mepal Molly member Michael Czarnobaj, said: “The kids really seem to enjoy it, the start of the year is very bleak and dark and they seem to enjoy some entertainment to brighten things up.

“I gave a talk about what it means to be a farmer and then they had a go at doing some dancing themselves. It was a very enjoyable day.”

Plough Monday is the first Monday after Epiphany, or Twelfth Night. The day was traditionally an important ritual for agricultural workers in the east, providing the opportunity to make some money at a difficult time of year.

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In medieval times it is believed that ploughboys were supposed to return to work on Plough Monday, the start of the new ploughing season. Instead the plough was paraded through the streets with the aim to extort money from the wealthy landowners.