Collecting the folklore and uses of plants

Bankside Twelfth Night

Posted on by royvickery |

The 23rd Bankside Twelfth Night took place on Sunday 7 January 2018, starting near the Globe Theatre, on the south bank of the Thames in the London Borough of Southwark.  From about 1.30 p.m. people gathered to await the arrival of the Holly Man, who walked across the Millennium Bridge from the north side of the Thames.  Meanwhile the Mayor of Southwark and his entourage arrived from the south.  Various wassails were performed, followed by a topical mummers’ play, and the selection of the King Bean and Queen Pea:

‘We give our Twelfth Cakes at the end of our Mummers’ Pay, following centuries old tradition.  Within the cakes is concealed a bean and a peas.  Whoever finds the bean becomes King, and whoever finds the pea, Queen for the day.  It might be any of you!’

People then processed to the George Inn (built in 1676, and now owned by the National Trust), ‘for Music, Dancing & Storytelling, Mince Pies & Mulled Wine’.

Also available outside the George was a Kissing Wishing Tree:

‘The Wishing Tree or Kissing Tree was made at Christmas or Yuletide before pine trees were introduced by Prince Albert …  in 1840.  An evergreen bough was hung with apples, sweetmeats and candles and decked with ribbons representing wishes …  Tie a ribbon on the tree, make a wish, and kiss someone!’

Images:  Holly Man, and Kissing Wishing Tree, both outside the George Inn.  Quotations from the 2018 Bankside Twelfth Night programme.

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