Thread the Needle

Quick Reference

A game which can exist independently, as a dance movement, or as part of other customs or festivities. The basic movement is a line of people holding hands, two of whom hold their hands up to make an arch, and the leader goes through the arch with everyone following. Often found in conjunction with clipping the church, at Easter, and also as part of the Midsummer celebrations at Penzance, described in 1801 (R. Polwhele, History of Cornwall (1816), i. 49–51).

J. B. Partridge, ‘The Game of Thread the Needle and Custom of Church Clipping’, Folk-Lore 23 (1912), 196–203;Gomme, 1898: ii. 228–32;Opie and Opie, 1985: 33–43.

Reference entries