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8th May - Feast of the Apparition of St Michael. St Michael is one of the Archangels and is said to have appeared several times throughout history. In 391AD at Monte Cargano and in 495AD at St Michaels Mount in Cornwall. In 590AD he was seen by St Gregory the Great in the air sheathing his sword. Signalling the ces Read More »
28 April - Start of the Roman festival of Florania, to the goddess of flowering plants and sexuality.
20th March - The Festival of Isis is important to many Occult Groups.
4 May - Irish day for confusing the fairies so that they could not create any havoc.
1st May - is Garland Dressing Day in Charlton On Otmoor. A wooden cross is bedecked with Yew and Box leaves.
At Giant's Cave, near Eden Hall, it has been the custom from time immemorial for the lads and lasses of the neighbouring villages to collect together on the third Sunday in May, to drink sugar and water, when the lasses give the treat: this is called Sugar-and-Water Sunday. They afterwards adjourn to the public house, and the lads return the compliment in cakes, ale, punch, etc. Read More »
2 September - In 1751 the Gregorian Calendar was adopted in Britain, resulting in the loss of 11 days, compared to the old Julian calendar.
5 November - Celebration to commemorate the saving of the Houses of Parliament from the Gunpowder Plotters in 1605. The festival was decreed by an act of parliament. It is celebrated with bonfires and fireworks and the traditional burning of a dummy called the Guy. The original plotters were hung, drawn and quartered in London. Read More »
There is a tradition dating back to the 17th century in Ottery St Mary, where tar soaked barrels lighted and carried through the Devonshire town. Only those who are born and lived within the town are eligible to carry one of the seventeen barrels which begin their journey from outside the local pubs. Read More »
31st October - The Samhain festival marked the end of summer and the beginning of winter in the Celtic calendar, and is one of the four Celtic fire festivals - the quarter points in the solar year. It marked the point in the year were a time of plenty gave way to more lean times, in all probability the reason for its association with dread and eeriness. Read More »
8th May - The Helston Flurry Dance takes place, where Helstonians take part in a pagan ritual processional dance through the town in a custom that pre-dates Christianity and probably dates back to Celtic times. The dance takes place each eighth of May unless it falls on a Sunday or Monday and was probably originally a fertility or Spring festival. Read More »
7th May - Hocktide which was a medieval English festival was generally celebrated on the second Tuesday after Easter. The men of the village would tie up the women and demand a kiss for their release. The following day thewomen would tie up the men and demand money for their release which would go to Parish funds. It is suggested that it celebrates the massacre of the Danes in the 11t Read More »
28 December - Holy Innocent's Day is said to be the unluckiest day of the year.
According to 'County Folk-Lore Volume VI - Examples of Printed Folk-Lore Concerning The East Riding of Yorkshire (1911)’ edited by Eliza Glutch. 'On Christmas morning in Hull the children come in droves, pealing at your door-bell in order to wish you "a merry Christmas." The following is a favourite doggerel: Read More »
2nd February - The annual street ball game in Jedburgh, it said to have originally been played with the severed heads of border raiders.
1 August - Celtic festival of Lugh, the god of light. Celebration of the early harvest, when loaves were baked and sometimes distributed from churches. Lammas is derived from Loaf Mass.
11 November - The feast of St Martin of Tours, a Roman soldier who became famous as a bishop. It marked the onset of winter time proper.
3rd or 4th Monday in August - Once said to have been celebrated with hilltop fires, the festival is now associated with Mary Queen of Scots. A Queen is voted from the local Irvine girls and a parade goes through the town along with other events.
1st May - The old Pagan fertility festival of Beltane, the day used to be celebrated in nearly every village green with may pole dancing. The custom has rapidly died out and many of the old village greens have been reclaimed. The festival was also celebrated with hilltop fires.
29 September - One of the quarter days, and a celebration of the Archangel Michael.
The festival is primarily a Celtic fire festival, representing the middle of summer, and the shortening of the days on their gradual march to winter. Midsummer is traditionally celebrated on either the 23rd or 24th of June, although the longest day actually falls on the 21st of June. Read More »
11 October - In the past on this day supposed relics of the Milk of Mary were venerated in abbeys across England. These were phials containing a drop of breast milk from the Virgin Mary.
Minehead is the scene of the Obby Oss Festival April 30th, May 1st -3rd. The oss or horse is a covered wooden frame with a painted head at the centre bedecked with ribbons. The Oss meets the rising sun early on the 1st of May. In some stories this festival is said to date to a time when the local people scared away Norse invaders by disguising their ship as a sea serpent. Read More »
A SERIES of hand-crafted booklets on the folklore and legends of Cumbria has been published. Read More »