UK & World

IN PICTURES: Castleton Garland Day -an ancient festival of unknown origin

May 30 2019

'Garland Day' Celebration, Castleton, Derbyshire.  The first records of Garland day date back to the 1700's and though it's true origins are not fully understood it is believed to be an ancient fertility rite with Celtic connections. The celebration also incorporates more recent elements of 'Oak Apple Day' which falls on May 29th, and celebrates the restoration of the monarchy in 1660. The garland is a framework of cut flowers which is prepared on the day by villagers before being placed on the head of the 'King', and paraded around the town on horseback with his 'Consort', also on horseback, dressed in Stuart costume.


IN PICTURES: St Andrews University annual May Day dip

May 1 2019

Students from St Andrews University celebrated the start of a new month by taking part in the traditional May Day dip into the North Sea earlier this morning. The university says the May Day Dip is believed to promote good luck in exams.     


Is it safe to have a fairy on your Christmas tree?

December 21 2017

Simon Young is the editor of Magical Folk: British & Irish Fairies – 500 AD to the Present, the first history of fairy sightings in Britain and Ireland over a millennium and a half. He discovered some pretty harrowing stuff...