When: 4th August 2013
Where: The Fish Pier, Whitby, North Yorkshire
What is it?
Yorkshire has many traditional customs that are still carried out today; the blessing of the boats in Whitby is one of them.
The tradition of blessing the boats in Whitby started in 1948 but originates from a much earlier tradition of crop blessing. It began at a time when the harbour was so packed with boats that it was possible to walk across from one boat to the next. The evening spectacle of boats with their lights twinkling going out to sea was a popular attraction for tourists at the time. Customs such as blessing the boats are said to seek God’s blessing for new crops or in this case the fisheries.
These days there are far fewer boats in Whitby but the tradition of blessing the boats is still going.
Other similar customs used to take place across the UK. At Norham-on-Tweed the vicar used to be presented with the first catch and would bless the river, the boats and the fishermen but the tradition died out in the 1980s with the decline of the fishing industry.
More info: www.visitwhitby.com