Winter Solstice Celebrations

We had an amazing evening on 21st December at the Winter Solstice Celebrations, aka #Montol, in Penzance. We started the evening off with a lovely meal at the ancient Admiral Benbow pub in Chapel Street, #Penzance. This public house is the oldest in Penzance and reputedly has an old smuggling tunnel leading down to the docks. Inside it has a nautical theme, with artefacts from ships as well as diving equipment, and is well worth a visit for this alone.

Montol Celebrations, Penzance

The evening procession leaves from St John’s Hall and wends its way through the streets of Penzance before arriving at the site of the old hill fort at Lescudjack. However, my favourite part of the winter solstice celebrations is the ten o’clock procession which starts at the old Market Place building and increases in size as it reaches the Union Hotel, Chapel Street.

This dark, mystical practice is an annual festival in Penzance, #Cornwall, UK, held on the 21st of December each year since 2007, and marks the shortest day of the year. The festival is a revival or reinterpretation of many of the traditional Cornish midwinter customs & Christmas traditions formerly practised in and around the Penzance area which were common to much of Cornwall. Montol is held on the traditional date of the feast of St Thomas the Apostle, usually the 21st of December, which always coincides with the winter solstice. The Cornish Culture Association – The charity that runs Montol, is part of Bewnans Kernow, the umbrella partnership for Cornish Culture Groups.
As the rabble progresses down Chapel Street, the ‘Osses appear, lead by Teasers. #Penglaz, the dark ‘oss also appears on Mazey Eve to celebrate the summer #solstice, but in the winter, they are bedecked with holly instead of flowers.
At the bottom of the street, everyone gathers to dance around the bonfire which is then lit.
The winter solstice celebrations are an amazing experience, so make sure you don’t miss next year’s event.