Oak Apple Day

From Academic Kids

Oak Apple Day is celebrated in the United Kingdom on 29th May. It commemorates the restoration of the monarchy in England, in May 1660. In some parts of the country, the day is also known as Shick-Shack Day or Arbor Day.

In 1660, Parliament declared 29th May a public holiday:

"Parliament had ordered the 29 of May, the King's birthday, to be for ever kept as a day of thanksgiving for our redemption from tyranny and the King's return to his Government, he entering London that day." (Samuel Pepys, Diary June 1, 1660)

Though the holiday, Oak Apple Day, was formally abolished in 1859 a 1915 film clip of Col. Lyttleton inspecting the Chelsea pensioners on Oak Apple Day is preserved at the British Film Institute [1] (http://www.screenonline.org.uk/film/id/728813/).

Traditional celebrations to commemorate the event often entailed the wearing of oak apples (A type of plant gall, possibly known in some parts of the country as a shick-shack, but see the article on its etymology in the external links) or sprigs of oak leaves, in reference to the occasion after the Battle of Worcester in October 1651, when the future Charles II of England escaped the Roundhead army by hiding in an oak tree near Boscobel House.

It is widely believed that these ceremonies, which have now largely died out, are continuations of pre-Christian nature worship. The Garland King who rides through the streets of Castleton, Derbyshire, at the head of a procession, completely disguised in greenery, which is affixed to a pinnacle on the parish churchtower, can have little connection with the Restoration. Events still take place at Upton-upon-Severn, Northampton, Aston on Clun in Shropshire, and Great Wishford in Wiltshire.

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