Friday, June 28, 2013

The Bawming of Appleton Thorn

Appleton Thorn is a village in Cheshire, England." Bawming" means "decorating" - during the ceremony the thorn tree is decorated with ribbons and garlands. According to legend, the hawthorn at Appleton Thorn grew from a cutting of the Holy Thorn at Glastonbury which was itself said to have sprung from the staff of Joseph of Arimathea, the man who arranged for Jesus's burial after the Crucifixion.
Appleton appeared in the Domesday survey as "Epeltune" and means "the tun where the apples grew".
Even though it has a religious gloss about it, it seems undeniably to have sprung from some earlier, pagan fertility celebration. Though the observation fell into disuse in the early twentieth century, it was happily revived and is observed in June.

I am making a little fictionalized scenario of the Bawming of the Thorn. "Bawming" seems to be a pejorative of "decorating", more akin to "slathering" than adorning.

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