A seemingly annual tradition now – tomorrow marks the arrival of The Green Man at London’s Bankside and a celebration of the 12th Night festivities.
Although Twelfth Night took place a couple of days ago, the celebrations at Bankside are on a day more convenient to modern work patterns – a Sunday.
The event starts at around 12:45, with a fairly wide margin for error, when a motor boat comes down the Thames, usually circles around a few times, then lands by the river steps beside The Globe theatre, where the grandly decorated Green Man disembarks, along with his entourage and blesses an Apple tree.
More blessings at the gates to The Globe, then along to the pier steps which make for a suitable “stage” to put on a Mummers Play. At the end of the play, cakes are distributed – a bean and a pea hidden in two of them. Those who find them are hailed King and Queen for the day and crowned with ceremony.
After that, they parade down to Southwark.
I’ve been a couple of times, and it is a good mix of contemporary pagan traditions, along with a play that delights the children.
There will be more Wassailing next Sunday – this time in Willesden Green.