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Posted on Wednesday, 20 April 2011 06:21PM by
Castleton's Ancient Garland Ceremony
Monday 29th May 2017
Ceremony begins at 6.30pm

Castleton Garland Day is traditionally held on Oak Apple Day, 29 May, which commemorates the restoration of the British Monarchy in 1660 after the brief republic installed by Oliver Cromwell. The ‘oak’ connection recalls the oak tree in which King Charles II hid after the Battle of Worcester in 1651. 

But the Castleton ceremony is much older than that, probably dating back to pagan times and possibly originally a fertility rite. Castleton village museum contains a display of Garland memorabilia which includes an outfit worn by a King 200 years ago.

The main character in the festivities is the King. He rides through the village on horseback, wearing 17th-century dress and hidden beneath a huge floral garland of blossom and greenery which he carries over his head and shoulders. He tours the village accompanied by his Queen, also in Stuart costume, the Castleton Silver Band and village schoolgirls dressed in white and performing traditional dances.

After calling at all the village’s six pubs, the parade eventually reaches the town square, where the garland is hoisted up to be placed on one of the pinnacles of St Edmund’s Church tower.

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