After moving to London many families like to explore and discover cultural traditions of their new home country. England is deeply steeped in ancient traditions and beliefs and many are still practiced today. With the New Year upon us and families often looking for ways to celebrate every family after moving to London should consider a visit to the Twelfth Night Festival.
The Twelfth Night Festival takes place outside London’s Globe Theatre, best known for being home to Shakespeare’s plays. On the twelfth night of Christmas, also Epiphany in the Christian calendar, a celebration with its roots in ancient English tradition takes over the streets. Many moving to London enjoy this celebration as they are able to take part in a truly British experience, one not found in the States.
Many moving here do not realize that much of the Christian calendar was taken directly from Pagan holidays. Such is the case with Epiphany. The Twelfth Night Festival aims to celebrate the Pagan rituals that saturated the country long before Christianity moved upon its shores. This event is free and besides the cold temperature makes a wonderful way to end the Christmas festivities after moving to London.
The festival begins with Green Man arriving by boat from the Thames River. This Green Man is not unique to British tradition. He appears in many customs from cultures around the world like Canada and Belgium. For the twelfth night festivities he is covered in holly making him known often as The Holly Man.
Once he lands upon the shores he is greeted by the Mummers, a cast of actors who perform a play in celebration of the Holiday. After the play small cakes are handed to the crowd. Hidden inside two cakes are a pea and a bean. Whoever finds the hidden pea and bean inside their cake is crowned king and queen and leads the procession to George Inn in Borough High Street to continue with the merriment.
With January being such a dreary month it is no surprise that those moving here may enjoy any festivity they find. With just a little effort and an open mind families from the states can make the most of their time discovering interesting cultural practices after moving.