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FOCUS: Winter Traditions


Winter is a time when people celebrate various winter traditions in their own special ways. Whilst you may know how winter is celebrated in your region, have you ever wondered how folk elsewhere celebrate this special time of year?


ENGLAND by


Luke Yates of Way Ahead


Photography Many of us are aware of the main English winter traditions such as giving presents on Christmas Day and Boxing Day and kissing under the Mistletoe, so I would like to introduce a slightly less well known tradition.


One of the more unusual ways in which the winter months are celebrated in the lovely quaint


102 | ukhandmade | Winter 2011


riverside town (and former city) of Rochester in Kent, is by transforming the entire place into a Dickensian Christmas wonderland! Every year, during the first week of December, Rochester is transformed into a “Dickensian winter” version of itself, no mean feat, and one that is done with the most minute attention to detail. As well as fantastic market stalls offering a huge range of Christmas wares, there is lively street entertainment; musicians and costumed characters performing around the festival area in the Victorian High Street, town centre and grounds of the castle. There are colourful parades and processions and each day climaxes with a Carol Concert outside Rochester’s beautiful Cathedral. As you wander amongst the


Victorian lamps adorning the streets, marvelling at the “guaranteed snow” and drinking in the lovely Christmassy atmosphere, as well as the mulled wine, you cannot help but feel the Ghost Of Christmas Present starting to work his magic.


This very fitting winter tradition of celebrating Charles Dicken’s deep love and strong ties with the area has been carried out for over 20 years and it’s a wonderful way to start the festive season. It’s also not a bad place to go to get some unusual and individual gifts!


Mice Images courtesy of Kirsten Miller of Quernus Crafts


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