My last blog post was about the history of Oak Apple Day, or Pinch Bum Day as some people call it, so I thought it would be fun to do a post on how people across different parts of England celebrate this late May date.
Northampton: A garland of oak-apples is laid at the foot of Charles II’s statue every year in respect. The citizens of Northampton have a particular fondness for Charles after giving the citizens of Northampton one thousand tons of timber from the Royal forests of Whittlewood, after a great fire almost razed the town in 1675.
Castleton, Derbyshire: Castleton holds its Garland Day on Oak Apple Day (29th May) every year. The original festival may have been held as a fertility rite, but today is said to celebrate the Charles II returning to the throne. The actual Garland itself is made from a wooden frame and wildflowers and leaves are attached to it. The Garland weighs about 56 lbs and during the ceremony is lifted onto the shoulders of the ‘King’ who is dressed in a Stuart costume. Lots of fun is to be had all day long with procession and visits to the local pubs.
Chelsea, London: The 29th of May is also a date celebrated at the Royal Hospital, Chelsea in the Chelsea Pensioners Parade. Charles founded the royal hospital as a home for Army pensioners.
Worcester: The people of Worcester have a traditional way of celebrating oak apple day – and that is to decorate the entrance to the Guildhall with all manner of oak branches and oak leaves.
I really hope to make it to Castleton this year to find out in person how the oak apple day celebrations go ahead. Has anyone ever been to any of these places for oak apple day? Anyone got any other customs for your particular area?