One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A lively traditional English dance performed outdoors by groups known as “sides.” Dancers wear distinctive costumes that are mainly black and white and have small bells attached, and often carry handkerchiefs or sticks.
- ‘The Morris Dance is one of the oldest continuing traditions of rural Britain, and in its origins, was thought to welcome the spring and to ensure the fertility of the year's crops.’
- ‘One specific kind of jig in which the Robin Hood tradition, a popular subject of ballads, prevailed was the morris dance.’
- ‘Sharp went on to devote most of the rest of his life to compiling morris dances and tunes.’
- ‘George and the Dragon was played all over the country by bands of mummers, who would blacken their faces with soot and wear animal masks and ragged costumes - some morris dance groups echo these once-pagan traditions today.’
- ‘There was a serene feel to the festival on Sunday when 300 people gathered in the morning for a multi-faith service of songs of praise followed by a morris dance display.’
Late Middle English: morris from morys, variant of Moorish (see Moor); the association with the Moors remains unexplained.
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