Engagements and marriages are great and joyous events for gypsies, signifying the extension and continuation of the family. Traditions and customs may vary such as jumping over a broom, but generally the ceremony is quite simple with the joining of hands and the breaking of bread over the bridal couple. In times past gypsy girls might have married as young as 12 or 15 with many family inter-marriages taking place; the groom would take the bride’s family name, unless he was the clan’s headman.
Other activities throughout the weekend include candle dipping workshops in the Goods Shed, which use Victorian techniques to make multi-coloured candles to take home; a lesson in the school house at 12noon and a ride on the horse-drawn bus between 1.30pm and 3pm. There’s also a sing-a-long in the New Inn at lunchtime time and during the afternoon.
Open 10am to 5pm Blists Hill is one of the ten Ironbridge Gorge Museums. A great value Annual Passport Ticket allowing unlimited entry into all ten Ironbridge Gorge Museums costs £25 per adult, £20 for seniors, £15 for children under 18, £68 for a family of two adults and all their children and £50 for a family with one adult; under 5s free (terms and conditions apply); Passports can also be bought online in advance saving 10% and individual entry tickets are available at each museum. Activities and workshops vary day-to-day and some carry an extra charge.
For further information call the Ironbridge Tourist Information Centre on 01952 433 424 or visit www.ironbridge.org.uk.
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