Whittlesea Straw Bear Festival (15 Jan)

Straw BearThe Whittlesea Straw Bear is maintaining the folklore tradition of parading a man dressed in straw around the streets near to Plough Monday.

  • In recent years the Whittlesea Straw Bear has made friends with a German Straw Bear ( der Strohbär) from Walldürn near Frankfurt, a town that celebrates its own Straw Bear Festival on the Monday before Shrove Tuesday.
  • During the 19th century Straw Bears – men or boys clothed in a layer of straw – were a familiar Plough Monday. In some places, instead of dragging a decorated plough, one of the farm labourers dressed as a straw bear and along with other farm labourers would beg door to door for money.
  • The tradition of someone dressing up as a straw bear is maintained every year in January, in Whittlesey, near Peterborough.
  • On the Saturday before Plough Monday the Straw Bear is paraded through the streets of Whittlesey.
  • The bear is a man covered from head to foot in a straw costume that weighs about five stone.
  • The Straw bear is attended by a host of morris, molly and folk dancing, and musician from all over the UK.