Monday, 7 May 2012

The Wicker Man

After one of the coldest and wettest bank holidays I can recall in recent times, I’m pleased to announce that we did our bit toward tempting the summer to show its sunny face.
We visited Butser Ancient Farm to celebrate Beltane (I guess you could describe it as an Iron Age May fair); the culmination of which was the burning of an absolutely huge Wicker Man. The Gods must have smiled on our antics because astonishingly, it failed to rain on our bonfire.
There was lots to see and do, including a Morris dancing troop, Celtic and Roman weaponry and dress, falconry, storytelling by Red Phoenix, traditional crafts, a tasty hog roast, making for the children to partake in, bands, cider, fudge and of course – the Wicker Man...
We made our way straight over to see the main attraction and scrawled our wishes and dreams down on small wraps of paper – these were then posted into the Wicker Man's legs to be burned in the eventual fire. This was a modern day replacement for sacrifices, which would have been traditional apparently. He was taller than the trees and a grown man could easily walk under his legs.
We had a fantastic time but everything paled in comparison to what was to come. As darkness fell everyone gathered in anticipation, a safe distance away from the massive wooden sculpture; until finally, someone approached with a burning torch.
Once his legs were burning, our wishes went up in smoke and it was only a short time before his torso, which was stuffed with straw was blazing away. Finally, to a chorus of Ahhhhs and Oohhs the Wicker Man’s blazing head fell to the ground, sending a huge shower of red embers into the night.
As we trudged back over the hill to our vehicles, we were cold, tired and hungry but very excited; our heads were still filled with images of that hot, firey giant. Our wishes that may yet come true, were now far off sparks, sailing like shooting stars into the dark sky...


  1. One day I hope to make it to Butser for a seaonal celebration. Thanks for blogging about your trip; it's added to my determination.

  2. Hi Fridge Forager.
    I can thoroughly recommend Butser, they have some great events and the kids always love visiting the settlement as much as I do.
    We always do the Winter Solstice and the Beltain celebration was a super mix of country fair, Iron Age education, and pagan celebration. The icing on the cake was the Wicker Man -simply awesome!