- May 29 -

Castleton Garland Day

Castleton Garland Day or Garland King Day is held on 29 May (unless that date falls on a Sunday, when the custom is transferred to the Saturday) in the town of Castleton in the Derbyshire Peak District. The Garland King, on horseback, and covered to the waist in a heavy, bell-shaped floral Garland,...

Castleton Garland Day

Castleton Garland Day or Garland King Day is held on 29 May (unless that date falls on a Sunday, when the custom is transferred to the Saturday) in the town of Castleton in the Derbyshire Peak District. The Garland King, on horseback, and covered to the waist in a heavy, bell-shaped floral Garland, leads a procession through the town.

Origin
The first documentation of The Garland Ceremony is in the Castleton Barmaster`s book of the 1700`s. Its true origins are lost in the mists of time, but it is thought to be an ancient fertility rite involving flowers, people and springtime, and possibly having Celtic connections.
The date of the custom coincides with Oak Apple Day and it is said to commemorate the restoration of King Charles II in 1660. Presumably the Garland is meant to represent the oak tree in which he hid after the Battle of Worcester. Some folklorists suspect that it is actually a much older custom that transferred from May Day as many May celebrations did after having been banned by the Puritans. The Garland King certainly resembles a kind of Jack in the Green.

Customs
Starting from midday, most of the afternoon is taken up with the construction of the Garland, a roughly bell- or beehive-shaped wooden framework to which are tied bunches of garden flowers. Once it is finished, a small posy named "The Queen", made of especially fine flowers tied around a short stick, is inserted as a topknot into the top of the garland.
In the late afternoon the Garland King and his female consort (confusingly, sometimes mistakenly referred to as "The Queen", but formerly simply "The Lady"), dressed in Stuart costume, mount their horses. The Garland, which is said to weigh between 56 and 60 lb (25 and 27 kg) is placed over the King's head and shoulders; only his legs are visible beneath it.
During the previous evening, oak leaves and other greenery are fixed to the pinnacles on St Edmund’s Church tower. Wild flowers, such as bluebells and cow parsley, have traditionally been gathered for covering the Garland the next day. More recently many of the flowers come from the village gardens – wallflowers, peonies, laburnum, lilac, lily-of-the-valley, rhododendron and other blossom.
The dance starts at one of the village's pubs (the starting point is chosen on rotation). The riders and Castleton Silver Band then lead an evening procession around the town, stopping at various points, including all the pubs. Young schoolgirls dressed in white, with flowers, carrying small "maypoles" (known as "Garland sticks") twined with ribbons, follow behind; they dance a form of morris dance at each stopping-place.
When the circuit of the village is complete, the King rides up to the churchyard gates, where the Queen (posy) is removed from the top of the Garland. It is kept on one side to be placed on the village's war memorial. The King rides to the foot of the tower of St Edmund's church where all the pinnacles but one have been decorated with oak leaf branches. A long rope is hung down and tied to the Garland, which is hoisted up the side of the tower and then impaled on the central pinnacle. It remains there for several days until the flowers have wilted. Formerly it was left to fall apart completely.
The day concludes with maypole dancing in the Market Place and the ceremonial placing of the Queen posy on the war memorial. Then the residents of the village follow the band back through the village dancing the "Crossover Dance".

Source:
http://www.visitcastleton.co.uk/garland-day-c19.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Castleton_Garland_Day

Categories:

More holidays on this day:

International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers
The First to Climb Mount Everest

You may also like...

Interesting events from Special category.

Academy Awards Night

The Academy Awards, commonly known as The Oscars, are U.S. awards for achievements in the film industry. Winners are awarded the statuette, officially the Academy Award of Merit, that is much better known by its nickname Oscar. The awards, first presented in 1929 at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel,...

Corsa Dei Ceri - Race of the Candles

Corsa Dei Ceri, or the Race of the Candles, is one of the most popular festivals worldwide as well as one of the most exciting. The ancient festivity is held each year in Gubbio, Italy beginning on May 3rd and culminating on May 15th. The history of this Italian festival in honour of St Ubaldo...

Programmers' Day

Computers, technology and software makes the modern world go around – but for every piece of clever software, there’s a programmer (and often teams of programmers) behind the scenes, solving problems with clever code, cloud security solutions, and intense development projects. Spare a thought...

Bluebird of Happiness Day

The bluebird is native to North America, and has become a worldwide symbol of love and happiness. The iconic 'bluebird of happiness' can be traced back to at least 1908, when it appeared in a Nobel Prize-winning play, 'The Blue Bird.' The 'Bluebird of Happiness' A popular American song of...

World Tourism Day

Since 1980, the United Nations World Tourism Organization has celebrated World Tourism Day on September 27. This date was chosen as on that day in 1970, the Statutes of the UNWTO were adopted. The adoption of these Statutes is considered a milestone in global tourism. The purpose of this day is to...

International Day of the Girl Child

International Day of the Girl Child is an international observance day declared by the United Nations. October 11, 2012, was the first Day of the Girl. The observation supports more opportunity for girls, and increases awareness of inequality faced by girls worldwide based upon their gender. This...

Download KeepIn Calendar

Enjoy the interesting stories even on your phone or tablet