The Montol Midwinter Festival

The Montol Festival is an annual arts and community festival in Penzance, Cornwall held between the 10th and 20th of December each year. The festival is a revival or reinterpretation of many of the traditional Cornish midwinter traditions & Christmas traditions formerly practiced in and around the Penzance area and is organised by the same team as the modern Golowan Festival.

At the very core of the festival are several of the revived customs of the West Cornwall area including, Penglaz the Penzance 'Obby 'Oss, described by many antiquarians as being present at the midwinter celebrations in Penzance at the turn of the 18th century as well as the St John the Baptist celebrations at Midsummer, Guise dancing, the Cornish candle dance and the performance of traditional mummers plays such as St George and the Turkish Knight. Cornish Christmas carols also feature heavily during the festivities.

The historical basis for many of the customs are taken from the texts of n AK Hamilton Jenkin. In his book he describes the festival of 1831 as "like an Italian carnival" and further noted that "everyone including the rich and the great came masked and disguised on to the streets".

During the festival there are a series of workshops dedicated to the making of Lanterns which are used in a large lantern parade on 20 December in Penzance Town Centre followed by the lighting of a beacon at Lescudjack Hill Fort one of the most ancient sites in the Penzance parish.

montol festival 2009
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