A TRADITIONAL folk dance procession will be returning to Maldon next week.

Plough Monday is a morris dancing procession which will take place in Maldon town centre on January 7 from 7.30pm to 9pm.

The procession will start from Hythe Quay and finishes at All Saints’ Church in High Street.

It will be performed by the Maldon Greenjackets.

Plough Monday dates back as far as 1520 and was held to encourage generosity towards agricultural workers who had little work during the barren winter months.

A spokesman said: “Having little chance to earn a wage, many workers had to rely on handouts in order to avoid starvation.

“They would carry the plough from door to door, dancing in exchange for food or money.

“Those who refused to contribute would often end up with their gardens ploughed – the faces of the culprits hidden behind their mud or soot-covered faces. This event has been kept alive countrywide by Molly dancers who wear traditional dress, dance to traditional music and process through their communities in celebration of the new agricultural year, while following the plough.”

The Plough Monday celebration was revived in Maldon in 1995 and has taken place on the first Monday after Epiphany every January since then.

The Maldon Greenjackets were formed in 1988, originally with all male dancers but in 2000 became a mixed group.

They mainly perform dances in the Cotswold tradition, which is the style most often identified as being typically English. It is danced with hankies, bells and sticks.

Cotswold morris comes from the villages in an area of Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire and is the style probably most often associated with morris dancing.

Entry to the event is free.

For more details, visit maldonmorris.org or call 01621 851164.