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Twelfth Night / Plough Monday

Plough Monday is the next after Twelfth Night, the traditional start of the agricultural year, for some reason celebrated particularly on the east side of England in the form of Blessing the Plough, Goathland Plough Stots, Whittlesey Straw Bear and Molly Dancers. ‘Old’ Twelfth Night (17 January) is the time for wassailing apple trees.

There are other New Years. The Bengalis have theirs in mid-April, the Chinese between 21 January and 20 February at the second new moon after the winter solstice. Most of our major cities have a ‘Chinatown’ where they celebrate in no uncertain terms. London’s is right in the middle of the West End near Piccadilly Circus and just north of Leicester Square, where all the action used to take place but now, much less interestingly, it is formally centred in Tralfalgar Square.