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Montol mid-winter festival 2010
The Montol Festival
The Montol Festival, an annual celebration held on the eve of the Winter Solstice, which in Cornish is Montol.

As the festive season gets underway we take a look at Penzance's Montol mid-winter festival.

The Montol Festival is an annual celebration held on the eve of the Winter Solstice, which in Cornish is Montol.

Taking place in the town with a series of events from 8-21 December 2010, Montol has plenty on offer.

Participants can experience a range of festive activities including markets, workshops and a lantern parade.

The events are part of the lead up to the Montol eve celebrations where the town turns out in a company of costumes.

The costumes and masks are reminiscent of those worn by Guise Dancers.

Guise dancing was so popular in the 19th century that many people compared Penzance to the Venice Carnival as locals used to dress in the style.

Festive scenery created for Montol 2008

The word Montol originated in 1700 when Edward Lhuyd visited Cornwall noted the phrase Montol, or An Vontol as being the Winter Solstice.

The eve of the Winter Solstice has also been celebrated as the date of King Arthur's birthday by the Cornish for over 1000 years.

Montol could be considered as the winter equivalent of the towns famous Golowan Festival the celebration of summer solstice on the year's longest day.

This year's calendar of events

• Wednesday 8 December Creative and Media Performance / Exhibition Lecture Theatre, Zennor Building, Penwith College - See local press for details.

• Saturday 11 December - 10am - 9pm. Lantern, mask costume workshop - Coach House Penlee Park FREE

• Sunday 12 December - 10am - 9pm.Lantern, mask, costume workshop -Coach House Penlee Park FREE

• Tuesday 14 December - 7.15pm. Mummers play by the Golowan band at Penzance Old Cornwall Society, followed by a performance at the Pirate Inn, Alverton and a number of places en route.

• Wednesday 15 December - 7.30pm - 8.30pm Penwith College Christmas Concert, St Mary's Church.

• Thursday 16 December - Late night shopping Penzance Town Centre & Mummers play by the Golowan band touring the public places of Penzance FREE - See posters for details.

• Friday 17 December - 9am - 2pm Special Penzance Farmers Market - St John's Hall. 8pm Nos Lowen With Dalla supported by Tros an Treys - The Ritz - Price £4.

• Saturday 18 December - 7pm Turkey Rhubarb Band Guise Dance tour of Penwith - Destinations will be published on website.

• Sunday 19 December - 7.30pm Montol Carol Service -St Mary's Church FREE

• Monday 20 December - 8pm Admiral Benbow, Chapel Street, Penzance, Midwinter Tales, Story Telling with a Midwinter Theme FREE.

Tuesday 21 December - Montol Eve

5.45pm - Selection of the Lord of Misrule by the casting of lots - St John's Hall Steps.

6pm - River of Fire Processions from St Johns Hall and other locations in Penzance. Please join in and dress in the traditional style, masks, mock posh, ribbons, formal hats. Anyone can join our parades.

7pm - Lescudjack Hill Fort - Performances from the Turkey Rhubarb band and others, world premier of Axial Lilt by Donsyures Montol and the lighting of the Montol beacon.

• 8pm - Chapel Street Montol Party - Road closed ,Street Entertainment, Fire Show, music in the pubs and on the street, Guise dancers will be performing all evening. The World Famous Cornish Dance Sensations Kemysk at the Union Hotel from 8.30pm,

• Events at Penzance Gallery - Green Street Penzance 7.30pm Premier of short Films by BBC Video Nation, 8pm Local Archive Films, piano music and mulled wine 9pm Live music with local legends Death by Skiffle. 11pm Montol party and film show with set after by Death By Skiffle.

Tuesday 21 December - Montol Eve led by the Turkey Rhubarb band - Meet at Princes street outside the Exchange Gallery @ 10.15pm. Followed by the Chalking and burning of the Mock


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