Whit Sunday – Marching Through Time

As a child growing up in the village of Resolven

I have special memories of the Whitsun Marching and Whitsun Tea

When all the Chapels and the Church came together

to show their faith in Christianity

The British Christian tradition of Whitsun

is celebrated on the seventh Sunday after Easter

It is believed to be the birth of Christian beliefs and values

by many a Pentecostal Theology teacher


On that particular Sunday, I always woke early, excited about the day

The sun was usually shining; the rain just seemed to stay away

My new outfit faced me, hanging neatly and ready to wear

A new pair of shoes still boxed, were sitting silently on the chair

My pink lace gloves took pride of place, on my dressing table

Completing my look of being stylish, but obviously presentable

This was a calendar highlight for all denominations, and such an unique day

Eager volunteers were ready to serve all the goodies on display

Tea was prepared with all the best white china on show

Cups and saucers all lined up in an organised row.

Every religious abode was now ready, as members unite

The cleverly embroidered tablecloths starched and brightly white

The long tables and benches placed so that everyone sat together

The old boiler for hot water, dusted off (not used since last December)

The lady members had worked hard to make the tea a delight

And now felt ready and able to join in the marching, and be in sight

So with new hats put on in a hurry, they rushed up to the school yard

With just minutes to go, they managed to be there at the start!

The school yard was crowded, everybody trying to get to their place

The sound of someone singing, is he a tenor or maybe a bass?

The organisation was not easy, but it never failed to get done

Each Group was first one year, the last the next year, taking turns to be number one

There were eight in total of the Chapels/Churches in the village at that particular time

Each one equally important and an integral part of the procession line

Sometimes a faithful member carried their particular Chapel Banner, and for the Church a Cross

Proudly making a statement which the occasion made easy to endorse

We all started walking and some maybe talking to a fellow friend

As we reached the Square, we turned slowly around the bend

Commercial Road ahead, the hymn singing was louder than before

“Look down Cory Street, there’s Grantley standing at Trevor the Barber’s door!”

Many a time, the schedule of re-surfacing the road with Tarmac seemed to be on cue  

Because when the sun was strong and bright, it melted, and stuck to your shoes like glue

We would stop outside a chapel member’s home who maybe due to illness had stayed away

And sing a hymn or two to remind them that their presence was missed more than words could say

We finished our walk through the village then onto our chapel vestry or church for the tea

Where sandwiches, trifle and home made cakes was a wonderful sight to see

We sometimes brought our own spoons marked with coloured wool or string

Which was a necessity that gave to us (as children) a sense of belonging


The Whitsun Marching and Whitsun Tea are sadly for many, days gone by

But for those who experienced it, will always be remembered with perhaps a little sigh!

It’s a poignant reminder that nothing stays the same, and life changes whatever

But those are special memories, and meant to be treasured forever

Thanks to everyone who contributed photographs

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Written & Compiled by Lorna & Hugh Lewis

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