When: 23rd February 2013, 6pm – 8.30pm
Where: Slaithwaite, near Huddersfield, West Yorkshire
What is it?
Every odd year Slaithwaite celebrate their smuggling history with the Moonraking Festival. The story goes that in the 19th Century there was a profitable smuggling trade using the canal running through Slaithwaite. At the risk of getting caught one day the smugglers dumped their barrels of booze in nearby reeds and waited for nightfall to retrieve their booty. Whilst raking the barrels out of the reeds the men were approached by two excise officers and had to quickly make their excuses. Seeing the reflection of the moon in the canal the smugglers claimed to be trying to rescue the moon from the canal with their rakes. The officers took them for fools and left them to their smuggling.
This quirky history is celebrated in Slaithwaite with a series of events including workshops, shows, music and storytelling. The highlight of the festival though is the Moonraking Procession and Finale. This year the parade takes place on the 23rd February 2013. The people of Slaithwaite gather in the early evening to float a giant moon in a boat down the canal. With the accompaniment of performances and fireworks, the moon is raked out by ‘Moon Maidens’. Along with children and adults carrying lanterns, the moon is then paraded around the village. Musicians and locals in fancy dress join in with the parade.
More info: www.slaithwaitemoonraking.org