The Lions part invites everyone to their 23rd Twelfth Night Celebration beginning on the Bankside near Shakespeare’s Globe and continuing by procession to the historic George Inn in Southwark.
A collective celebration of the New Year, Twelfth Night mixes ancient Midwinter seasonal customs and contemporary festivity.
The Holly Man from the Thames
To herald the celebration, the extraordinary Holly Man, the winter guise of the Green Man (from our pub signs, pagan myths and folklore), decked in fantastic green garb and evergreen foliage, appears from the River Thames. He will arrive in the wonderful Thames Waterman Cutter, The Trinity Tide.
The Bankside Wassails
With the crowd, led by the Bankside Mummers, the Holly Man will 'bring in the green' and toast or 'Wassail' the people, the River Thames and the Globe: an old tradition to encourage good growth, health and well being.
The Mummers' Play
The Mummers will then process to the Bankside Jetty, and perform the traditional 'freestyle' St. George Folk Combat Play, featuring the Turkey Sniper, Clever Legs, the Old 'Oss and many others, dressed in spectacular costumes. The play is full of wild verse and boisterous action, a time-honoured part of the season recorded since the Crusades.
King Bean and Queen Pea
Cakes distributed at the end of the play have a Bean and a Pea hidden in two of them. Those from the crowd who find them are hailed King and Queenfor the day and crowned with ceremony. They then lead the people through the streets to the historic George Inn in Southwark for a fine warming-up with Storytelling, the Kissing Tree, the Fowlers Troop, dancing and mulled wine.
Twelfth Night is free, fun, photo-friendly for all the family.