Covid: Lockdown puts Slaithwaite Moonraking Festival in windows

Covid: Lockdown puts Slaithwaite Moonraking Festival in windows

2/20/2021 7:27:00 PM

Covid: Lockdown puts Slaithwaite Moonraking Festival in windows

More than 300 windows are lit up in Slaithwaite by people marking the annual Moonraking Festival.

People from Slaithwaite are known as moonrakers due to a 17th Century smuggling legendA village's efforts to enjoy an annual light festival in lockdown has seen residents move celebrations from its streets to the windows of their homes.Slaithwaite's Moonraking Festival would normally draw large crowds to West Yorkshire and culminate with a lantern procession through the streets.

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However, Covid-19 rules meant it could not happen, so dozens of locals decided to decorate their windows instead.Gill Bond, who founded the event in 1985, said they filled her "with joy".Ms Bond said people born in the village were known as moonrakers as a result of a story from the 17th Century, which tells of a band of smugglers who were caught trying to recover their bounty from the canal with long poles but avoided avoided arrest by claiming to be out "moonraking".

image copyrightSlaithwaite Moonraking Festivalimage captionOne villager said the displays meant it "still does feel like we are very much together"She said more than 300 windows had been decorated in the village and displays had also been created by ex-residents as far away as Edinburgh.

"People have told me that they have enjoyed feeling part of something when they have been so isolated," she said."Every time I walk down from my house I end up a little bit of a blubbering wreck when I see another window."Villager Sky Burton-Smith said locals were "all doing something individually in our homes but we are sharing it in our windows, so it still does feel like we are very much together".

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