Castleton Garland Day
Castleton Garland Day is a custom that has been celebrated in Castleton for hundreds of years, originally, possibly as a fertility rite, but today it is said to commemorate the restoration of Charles the Second.
It is held on Oak Apple Day, the 29th May, unless this is a Sunday, when proceedings will take place on the Saturday. The Garland, 3 feet high is made from a wooden frame, wound with string to which small bunches of wild flowers and leaves are tied. A further small wreath, called the `Queen` is made from choice garden flowers and is place on top. The complete Garland weighs about 56 pounds and just before the start of the ceremony is lifted onto the shoulders of the `King` who is dresseed in Stuart costume.
After touring the village on horseback accompanied by his consort, a procession and a band, the King is relieved of his Garland which is then hoisted up to the top of the tower of St Edmunds Church, where it is left to wither. The Queens wreath is placed round the war memorial and in the market place there is morris dancing and singing.
Castleton village museum contains a display of Garland memorabilia which includes an outfit worn by a King 200 years ago.