Wednesday, 2 September 2015

A RIGHT ROYAL ROMANCE

2014 Tenbury Mistletoe Queen, Rebekah Morris

A Royal entourage, including the Mistletoe Queen, her Holly Prince, Royal Attendants and their loyal subjects, will parade through the pretty Worcestershire town of Tenbury Wells on Saturday 5th December; to celebrate the importance of mistletoe locally, nationally and worldwide.

On the day, the Mistletoe Festival will feature the traditional crowning of Tenbury's Mistletoe Queen, Santa's Parade and a lantern procession, and a free-to-enjoy programme of storytelling, poetry, music, visual arts and street entertainment, provided by a mix of nationally-acclaimed artists.

As England's Mistletoe Capital, Tenbury Wells can chart a long history of Druid connections, internationally-known holly and mistletoe auctions and it is believed, Royal approval as Queen Victoria's ‘Little Town in the Orchard'. The town is surrounded by gently rolling hills blanketed with hundreds of beautiful and ancient apple orchards that are a favourite host for the parasitic mistletoe plant.

Festival Organiser for the Tenbury Mistletoe Association, Caroline Palethorpe said;-

" Mistletoe harvested in Worcestershire and Herefordshire travels all over the world and this gives Tenbury Wells an international name and a small but significant place in the festive celebrations. Having our schools, colleges, families and other community supporters all involved in welcoming and entertaining visitors at this time of year is lovely to see at a local level. We hope to attract lots of people to Tenbury Wells for the day . . . to collect their mobile kissing devices !"

As well as providing a literary and cultural focus, the festival will feature the Vamos Theatre bringing fun, frivolity and just a little mayhem to the streets. A Winter Vintage Craft Fair will be held throughout the afternoon and many independent local retailers will stay open for late night shopping.

As a part of the whole 2015 Season, National Mistletoe Day on Tuesday 1st December will be celebrated locally. National Holly & Mistletoe Sales will take place at Burford House Garden Store on Tuesday 24th November, National Mistletoe Day itself and finally, on Tuesday 8th December. All sales start at 9am. A Druids Thanksgiving Ceremony will be held on the Burgage at 3pm on Saturday 28th November.

More information about the 2015 Mistletoe Festival and Mistletoe Season of events can be found at www.tenburymistletoe.org

Did You Know? . . .

Mistletoe has separate male and female plants, the berries only grow on the female plants.
There are nearly 1,500 species of mistletoe worldwide and the ‘classic' mistletoe of Europe is Viscum album. Although Viscum album can grow on a number of different trees, around half of British mistletoe grows on its favourite host - cultivated apple trees.
 
Worcestershire and Herefordshire produce a significant proportion of all mistletoe in England; mainly in beautiful, long-established, traditional orchards where fruit trees are planted on vigorous rootstock at low densities in permanent grassland.

In 2007, traditional orchards were designated as a priority habitat for conservation in the UK; although less than 10% of the estimated 2,500 traditional orchards in Worcestershire alone are in Environmental Stewardship. Natural England estimates that overall orchard area in England has declined by about 63% since 1950. Mistletoe itself is not threatened as a species, but the increase in intensive orchard harvesting and the rapid reduction in traditional orchards are having an effect.

Mistletoe was considered sacred by Celtic Druids and for many centuries it has been suspended over doorways and in rooms, as a symbol of good will and peace to all who visited. Although poisonous, mistletoe means "all-heal" in the Celtic language and in medieval times it was believed to repel evil spirits.

The common name for mistletoe is derived from bird droppings! "Mistel" is the Anglo-Saxon word for ‘dung' and "tan" is the word for ‘twig' . . . so mistletoe means "Dung on a twig"!

Additional Festival Information

The 2015 Mistletoe Festival ceremony, music and on-street entertainment are all free. Full details can be found at www.tenburymistletoe.org

More information about the 2015 international holly and mistletoe auctions held in Tenbury
Wells can be found at nickchampion.co.uk/auctions/holly-and-mistletoe

The Tenbury Mistletoe Association - a not-for-profit community organisation - and the 2015 Mistletoe Festival are supported by Worcestershire County Council, Councillor Divisional Funds, Malvern Hills District Council and Tenbury Town Council.

 

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