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Thursday, 14 February 2008

Dark Dorset Calendar Customs Book Review - Calendar Customs - Book Reveals why we celebrate dates

If you have no idea why we eat pancakes on Shrove Tuesday, why children dance around a maypole on May Day,or why we carve pumpkins at Hallowe'en then a book just published could be your answer.

Robert Newland, 38, has just spent two and a half years researching Dorset's calendar customs and his book, Dark Dorset Calendar Customs, has just been published by CFZ Press, priced £12.50.

Mr Newland, has already published two other books, one on the mischievous fairies of Dorset and the other Dark Dorset: Tales of Mystery,Wonder and Terror, with his friend Mark North.

That book prompted the birth of their website darkdorset.co.uk. Book reveals why we celebrate dates

His books and the website are devoted to the folklore and legends of Dorset which he has been collecting for the last ten years.

He said: "Much of the intrinsic charm of Dorset folklore is-owed to the importance of folk customs. Today only a small amount of these curious and occasionally eccentric customs have survived, while those that still continue have, for many of us, lost their original significance. "Why do we eat pancakes on Shrove Tuesday? Why do children dance around the maypole on May Day? Why do we carve pumpkin lanterns at Hallowe'en? What is Wassailing? And who is Father Christmas?"

Mr Newland has made an in-depth study of the Dorset country calendar identifying the major feast-days, holidays and celebrations when traditionally such folk customs are practised. Some of these customs hark back to pre-Christian times, while others are comparatively recent innovations.

The list of customs is an extensive one and includes Morris Dancing, Clipping the Church Well Dressing, Love Divinations, Mumming Plays Corn Dollies, Broom Dancing and many more.

Included as a special bonus are 30 tasty seasonal recipes to try out, such as Cattern Cake, Plough Tide Dumplings and mince pies.

Review by Rene Gerryts, Bridport News, Thursday, 14th February 2008

ALL YOU HAVE EVER WANTED TO KNOW:
Dorset author Robert Newland, 38,
has just spent two and a half years
researching Dorset's calendar customs
and his book, Dark Dorset Calendar Customs
has just been published by
CFZ Press and is priced at £12.50

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