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Hocktide


7th May - Hocktide which was a medieval English festival was generally celebrated on the second Tuesday after Easter.  The men of the village would tie up the women and demand a kiss for their release.  The following day thewomen would tie up the men and demand money for their release which would go to Parish funds.  It is suggested that it celebrates the massacre of the Danes in the 11th Century by King Ethelred the Unready.

The practice was banned under King Henry VIII but re-introduced by Elizabeth I in 1575.  Hungerford may be the only place that still practices the tradition of Hocktide though in a modified form.  In Hungerford it is combined with a ceremonial collecting of rents by two Tutti Men, armed with Tutti Poles with flowers attached.  The Tutti Men are accompanied by the Orange Man who wears a hat with feathers on and carries a white sack of oranges.  The Tutti wenches would then give out the oranges in exchange for money or kisses.


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