Morris Dancing dates back to very early days and there are scant records of when it started or even why. It is generally believed that it is part of a fertility ritual of bringing good luck. The answer must be that no one knows for sure.
The whiteness of the handkerchiefs and shirts could symbolise purity. The stick dances, which sometimes characterise a fight, could be a symbol of the struggle between the forces of good and evil, or sometimes the banging of the stick on the ground could symbolise the stirring of mother earth into action.
Different regions in England have produced their own style of dancing. Cotswold Morris is perhaps the most well known and easily recognisable from the white shirts, black or white trousers and baldricks.
Their stepping is quite complicated and they use sticks or handkerchiefs in their dances. Border Morris is very colourful with bright ‘tatters’ coats, made from sticks of cloth. Sometimes their faces are blacked. It is believed that this may have been to disguise them from their employers