London's Twelfth Night Celebration
January 2, 2013
The banks of the Thames River in London will be the site of festivities welcoming the start of a new year this Sunday afternoon.
The Twelfth Night Celebration is a participatory, theater-based seasonal festival based on ancient midwinter traditions. The afternoon’s activities are led by the Lions part, a London-based registered charity formed by professional actors.
Festivities begin at 2:45 p.m. on Bankside by Shakespeare’s Globe when a folkloric figure clad in evergreen foliage known as the Holly Man emerges by boat. His role is to “bring in the green” to those assembled on the riverbank. He “wassails,” or toasts, the assembled crowd, the river, and the Globe.
Action then shifts venue to the nearby Bankside Jetty, where the Mummers, actors clad in colorful period costume, perform the lively St. George Folk Combat Play. Cakes are distributed to the audience, two of which contain a bean and a pea. Those who find them are hailed King and Queen for the day. The two then lead the crowd to the George Inn in Southwark for more festivities, dancing and mulled wine.
Twelfth Night celebrations are free and family-friendly. For more information, visit www.thelionspart.co.uk.