Visit Butser Ancient Farm's Magical Winter Adventure and meet the Deer Queen and the Holly King

Visit Butser Ancient Farm’s Magical Winter Adventure and meet the Deer Queen and the Holly King

However this 12 months, Butser Historical Farm invitations households to decelerate, reconnect with nature and discover historic winter folklore.

As a substitute for the standard Santa Claus expertise, Butser’s Magical Historical Winter Journey honors the steadiness of female and male energies all through the season. They invite The Deer Queen and Holly King to their previous magical properties to welcome households and assist them have fun the flip of the 12 months. Guests can anticipate a touch of magic, a style of the previous, take-out crafts, a magical path, sizzling drinks and treats.

The Deer Queen will recall gentle in The Horton Home, Butser’s reconstruction of an excavated Neolithic constructing relationship from 3800-3600 BC. The addition of a feminine character to the festivities is a nod to the thought of ​​the rebirth of the solar within the lifeless of winter. Science tells us that our beloved Rudolph is definitely a girl, as are all of Santa’s antler-laden reindeer. The males shed their antlers in November, leaving them antlerless till the next spring, whereas the females maintain their antlers all winter prepared to guard their calves within the spring. For the reason that Stone Age, the deer has been honored.

The Deer Queen and Holly King at Butser Historical Farm. Picture by Rachel Bingham

His picture was painted on the partitions of caves, antlers adorned shrines and have been buried in ceremonial tombs. Deer have been carved in stone, made into headgear and even tattooed on the pores and skin. In historic and fashionable folklore, its antlers have been usually depicted because the tree of life, bearing animals, the solar, moon, and stars. Winter adventurers in Butser will have the ability to meet the queen of the stags and make a particular present to carry again the sunshine.

The Holly King, then again, is the personification of winter in numerous people and mythological traditions. It fights endlessly with The Oak King of Summer time, reflecting the seasonal cycles of daylight and darkish, the renewal and progress of cultures. The Holly King takes over on the autumnal equinox, peaking in mid-winter. Butser path fanatics can meet him within the Saxon home. Their second Anglo-Saxon constructing, it was accomplished earlier this 12 months and sits on foundations found throughout excavations close to the close by village of Chalton. They consider the home initially stood round 700 AD.

Regardless of its humble beginnings as a analysis web site 50 years in the past, Butser Historical Farm has turn out to be one of many principal vacationer points of interest within the South East, welcoming greater than 50,000 guests a 12 months, together with some 30,000 college youngsters who uncover the lives of our historic ancestors from the Stone Age to the Anglo-Saxon durations. As a not-for-profit, independently run group curiosity enterprise (CIC), they depend on the help of many organizations and people, in addition to their very own fundraising occasions, to make their work potential. analysis and schooling.

A winter view at Butser Historical Farm. Picture by Rachel Bingham

Therese Kearns, experimental archaeologist at Butser, says: “The significance of the winter solar is a recurring theme in British prehistory, evident within the many websites with clear proof of celebration right now of 12 months. The development of huge monuments comparable to Newgrange in Eire and Stonehenge in Britain demonstrates the significance of marking this time of 12 months which might have been essential for early farmers.

Kristin Devey, Occasions Coordinator at Butser, provides: “We’re delighted to have the ability to open the farm to the general public this Christmas, in order that extra individuals can expertise the wonders of Butser at this particular time of 12 months. Households will have the ability to take house information of winter folklore, in addition to pretty handicrafts and magical souvenirs.

“Including a stag queen to our actions this 12 months is a vital steadiness within the Holly King custom. Whereas it is inconceivable to know precisely how the ancients celebrated the female as winter reached its peak, we do know that the Venerable Bede wrote in AD 725 of “Modraniht,” or Mom’s Evening. Some students consider it was an Anglo-Saxon competition that passed off on the eve of the winter solstice, which was a part of the Germanic celebration of Xmas. Right this moment, some individuals honor their maternal line ancestors on this evening and have fun rebirth, gentle, and progress.

“The concept that the solar is ‘reborn’ on the winter solstice is linked to many historic cultures. The Egyptian goddess Isis had her son, Horus, throughout the winter solstice. Solar goddesses in Persia and Japan have been born throughout the solstice. The well-known Roman goddess Vesta of fireplace, home and household quenched and rekindled the fireside hearth on the winter solstice.

The stag queen at Butser Historical Farm. Picture by Rachel Bingham

‘Representing the steadiness between female and masculine, with our highly effective Deer Queen and Holly King, is an thrilling twist. They are going to delight younger and previous!

The winter solstice marks the shortest day and longest evening of the 12 months. Nonetheless, the solstice was probably essential in Neolithic cultures, as websites like Stonehenge align with the December solstice sundown. Butser erected a three-and-a-half-tonne standing stone earlier this 12 months with the assistance of naval recruits from HMS Queen Elizabeth and can align the stone with the winter solstice dawn by including smaller stones within the surrounding space. In lots of cultures, celebrations across the solstice concentrate on lightness and rebirth. From the solstice till midsummer, the solar beneficial properties energy because the daytime step by step turn out to be longer than the nights.

The best way the traditional Romans celebrated this time of 12 months could seem very acquainted to us at the moment. Saturnalia is an historic Roman competition in honor of the god Saturn, which takes place in mid-December. It concerned sacrifices, playing, songs, music, items, banquets and wild feasts. The masters grew to become slaves for the day and the poet Catullus known as it “the most effective of days”. Saturnalia celebrations are the origin of many traditions that we now affiliate with Christmas, comparable to wreaths, candles, feasts and items.

Methods to take part

HMS Queen Elizabeth crew members and volunteers assist increase a 3.5 tonne standing stone, utilizing solely conventional strategies, at Butser Historical Farm

Butser Historical Farm’s Winter Magical Journey close to Waterlooville is an alternate, non-denominational festive household occasion appropriate for all ages. Meet the Holly King and Deer Queen and find out about winter folklore with festive make-and-take actions for teenagers to create social gathering favors and decorations.

The path takes about 90 minutes, however ticket holders can keep and discover the farm all day. It operates from 10 a.m. to three p.m. on the weekends of December 3-4 and 17-18. Household tickets £27.50, youngsters £6.50, adults £10.50. Go to

Benefit from the magical winter journey at Butser Historical Farm

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