What’s it all about?
The Montol festival is a six day arts and community festival based on Cornish traditions of the past, culminating in the main event, Montol Eve on December 21.
Through the week there are lantern and mask making workshops, strolling bands, carol services, an arts and crafts fair, storytelling and late night shopping in Penzance. During the main event the people of Penzance take part in many of the Cornish traditional customs of Midwinter and Christmas including Guise dancing when many people wear traditional masks, dress in disguise and wear mock formal costume. Several fire beacons are lit throughout the town and there’s the chalking and burning of the Mock, the Cornish Yule log.
How can you take part?
Montol Eve has the theme of light and darkness so during the proceedings you can listen to traditional music, watch the amazing fire throwing and join in the carols. There are two torch lit processions to watch, too. The first leaves at 6pm from St John's Hall, with a second procession starting at 10.30pm in Chapel Street. Anyone can join the parades, just come dressed in the traditional style of masks, mock posh, ribbons and formal hats. The processions are followed by a Montol Street party when Chapel Street is closed for street entertainment featuring a Fire Show, music in the pubs and on the street and Guise dancers.
Did you know?
Traditionally made from ash wood, the lighting of the Yule Log is an old Cornish tradition. A stickman, or woman, is chalked on the log as a symbol of the death of the old year and the birth of the new and then thrown on the fire.
Penzance bus and rail stations are five minutes walk from the main procession route and the street party.