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Long before carving pumpkins became a staple of Halloween there was a tradition of carving turnips to create lanterns on the 31st of October. These lanterns were left overnight on gateposts, doorways and in windows in many parts of Britain. Read More »
6th January - Twelfth Night marks the end of the traditional Yule festival. It is also Old Christmas Day in the Julian Calendar.
5 July - An open air meeting on Tynwald Hill, said to have been built from a portion of the soil from each region of the island. Read More »
Up-Helly-Aa is a Norse festival on Shetland during which a replica Viking longship is burned. It is to celebrate the 24th day after Christmas, or Up Helly Night. The festival is relatively new in Lerwick (early 19th Century) and has evolved over time. In 1840 a tar barrel raft was burned as part of the proceedings. By the 1870's the long ship and Norse costumes were introduced.
30th April - Walpurgis Night, Beltane Eve, the Celtic Fire Festival celebrating the coming of summer.
Wassail originates from the Old English "waes hael", meaning "be well". It is a mulled cider or ale seasoned with honey and spices. Wassailing the apple trees is a traditional way of blessing th etrees to ensure a good harvest. Villagers would gather around the apple trees making a racket to awaken the tree spirits and scare away any lingering deamons. The strongest tre Read More »
Wassailing the Apple Trees or Apple Howling as it is known in Sussex is a festival to bless the apple trees to ensure a good crop in the coming year. The event takes place on Twelfth Night after dark. A horn is blown and Morris Men form a torch lit procession to the oldest and strongest apple tree where they form a ring. Read More »
4 July - Whalton Baal Festival is a traditional Midsummer fire festival, probably deriving from Celtic times. Baal derives from an old word for light.
Whitby Abbey is one of the most atmospheric locations in England. The desolate ruins stand stark above steep cliffs overlooking the old whaling village of Whitby in North Yorkshire, a testament to the town's former religious significance. Read More »
Some sources say this festival takes place on the Monday after twelfth night (Plough Monday), the tuesday following Plough Monday or the Saturday. Either way, a man is dressed from head to foot in straw bundles and dances around the town of Whittlesey, going from house to house looking for gifts of food, money and beer. Read More »
March 1 - Is Whuppity Stourie Day in Lanark, where primary children run around the church clockwise three times twirling paper balls. The original festival involved young men from neighbouring parishes and was much more violent.