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Saturday, November 25th 2017

Celebrate Christmas, Cotswold Style

With Christmas almost upon us we thought we’d share five festive fun facts from in and around the Cotswolds with you. With our best wishes for the festive season and a prosperous new year ahead, one in which we hope you will be inspired to visit our beautiful part of the world!


A floating Christmas Tree


Every year Bourton-on-the-Water displays a huge Christmas tree in the River Windrush, which runs through the centre of the village and its low honey stone bridges, which has led to it becoming known as the ‘Venice of the Cotswolds’. The so called floating Christmas tree, lit up with hundreds of lights reflected in the shallow clear waters, creates a magical festive display.


A very Bridget Jones’ Christmas


The snowy scenes where Bridget Jones visited her parents at Christmas were filmed right here in the Cotswolds – at the aptly named village of Snowshill.


Filming took place in the village green and a local house was featured as Bridget’s family home.


The whole village was covered in artificial snow for the filming to create a winter wonderland when filming took place in summer, and film makers even had to cut flowers off plants!


That’s Quackers!


Every Boxing Day thousands of people flock on the Cotswold village of Bibury for the annual Bibury Duck Race. Raising funds for charity, hundreds of plastic ducks are raced along the River Coln. There are normally two races, one with traditional bright yellow bath ducks and one with more realistic decoy ducks.


Here we come A-Wassailing 


Various villages and towns around the Cotswolds practice the ancient tradition of Wassailing around Christmas time. The word ‘wassail’ comes from the Anglo-Saxon phrase ‘waes hael’ or ‘good health’. The custom involves drinking and singing to awaken apple trees, making sure there’s a good harvest in the new year – something of great importance to the cider-producing South West of England! The songs and traditions differ from village to village.


The traditional wassail drink of the Cotswolds was made of mulled ale, curdled cream, roasted apples, eggs, cloves, ginger, nutmeg and sugar served from huge bowls. Sometimes the drink was called ‘Lamb’s Wool’ as the pulp from the roasted apples looked a bit like lambs’ wool.


Mums the word, well, almost


Mummers plays are still performed today in some market towns across the Cotswolds. These short traditional verse sketches are performed around pubs and Christmas fayres in return for donations. Using rhyme, song or dance the plays usually feature characters like Saint George, Robin Hood and Beelzebub with the actors, known as Mummers, dressed in disguise with masks, streamers, hats and makeup. The traditional plays are handed down in oral tradition from generation to generation.


These are just some of the varied traditions that take place in the Cotswolds this time of year. We look forward to sharing more Cotswold insights with you in future e-newsletters, and hope they inspire you to experience some of these fascinating traditions by visiting yourself!

Posted by Andrew

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