Morris dancers

Colourful faces at the Mill Road Winter Fair – One of the best things of the Mill Road Winter Fair is the people. Amongst the huge crowds, you will find people dressed up for the occasion, musicians, dancers, interesting characters and restauranteurs dressed in their traditional dress.


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What are Morris dancers and why are their faces coloured?

Morris dance is a form of English folk dance usually accompanied by music. It is based on rhythmic stepping and the execution of choreographed figures by a group of dancers, usually wearing bell pads on their shins and using sticks, swords, handkerchiefs and clay tobacco pipes accompanied by an accordion player, a melodeon, a fiddle player or a noisy band with a drum. This traditional dance can usually be seen throughout the month of May and festivals, but Morris dancers used to be people who used to work in the fields.  They used to dance when they were not working on the fields and they painted their faces to be in disguise.Traditionally they used to paint their faces black, but the Morris dancers from Peterborough seen on the Mill Road Winter Fair paint their faces in the colours of the Rainbow to give it a younger look.












One group of people who caught my eye, dressed in a colourful dress with their faces painted in all colours of the rainbow. Were the Morris dancers from Peterborough.

There are several thoughts to the origins of Morris Dancing. The name may refer to the possibility of the form of dancing coming to England from the Moors of North Africa;or it may have been called ‘Moor-ish’ simply because the dancers sometimes painted their faces black, and people compared this to the dark-skinned Moors.

Not only were the Morris dancers dancing, there were many other performers at the Mill Road Winter Fair not just during the day, but at the after Fair parties in the pubs in the Mill Road area too. Many of them are impromptus groups, who decide to meet up in a pub and make music.

If you don’t want to miss out on all these events, it is best to check out the Mill Road Winter Fair website first before you head of to avoid to missing out.



Gerla de Boer

Gerla de Boer is the founder of the award-winning Cambridge Food Tour in Cambridge, UK. She is a globetrotter foodie and always keen to get under the skin of a city or country she visits. She likes to get off the beaten track to get to know the latest food, fine local produce, visit their local markets and check out the hot places to eat in town. These experiences she takes back to Cambridge to create amazing food tours and events. Connect with Gerla on Facebook | Twitter | Instagram