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14 February - An ancient festival dedicated later to St Valentine. It is associated with love and marriage. In the past some of its customs involved looking into the future to try and reveal the identity of future partners.
Strange Mitcham by James Clark was first published as a booklet in 2002 as part of ASSAP's (Association for the Scientific Study of Anomalous Phenomena) Project Albion. It was updated and republished in 2011 giving James the opportunity to add a few more articles and further information. Read More »
Project Albion is part of one of ASSAP’s longest running and most successful research endeavours and it has been likened to a Domesday book of the paranormal. It is an attempt to record the full spectrum of anomalies, past and present, within their geographical, as well as historical, context. Read More »
21 June - Summer Solstice is the longest day in the year.
The gyst-ale, or guising feast, was an annual festival of the town of Ashton-under-Lyne. It appears from the rental of Sir John de Assheton, compiled a.d. 1422, that a sum of twenty shillings was paid to him as lord of the manor for the privilege of holding this feast by its then conductors. Read More »
14 August - On the second Friday of August, a man completely covered in Burdock burs (known as the Burryman) walks the boundaries of South Queensferry, a distance of seven miles. The ritual probably has pagan origins.
'There is an old tradition, possibly credited by some at the present time, that if anyone casts five white stones into a particular part of the river Ouse, near the city, as the clock in the Minster tower strikes one on May morning, he will see on the surface of the water, as if looking into a mirror, whatever is desired of the past, present, and future. . Read More »
Originally known as The Ship and dating from 1213, The Royal Standard of England on Brindle Lane, Beaconsfield is thought to be the oldest Free House in England and is reputedly haunted by two ghosts. Read More »
26th May - Tissington has its Well Dressing Day where for centuries it has been custom on Ascension Day to dress the five wells of the village, Yew Tree Well, Hall Well, Hands Well, Coffin Well and Town Well. In 1982 the Children's Well was introduced and has been part of th eceremony ever since. Read More »
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.