boar's head ceremony
Boar's Head Ceremony.
The Boar's Head Ceremony takes place every year in early December. Members of the Worshipful Company of Butchers, dressed in their fur lined robes, process from their hall in Bartholomew Close making their way via Cheapside to the Mansion House. They are accompanied by a troop of drummers, and carry aloft a large boar's head made of papier mache. This they present to the Lord Mayor of London.
The ceremony dates back to 1343 when the butchers offended ther monks of Greyfriars Monsatery by discarding their 'offal and ordure' on the public highway. The City authorities provided a strip of land for this purpose, but demanded an annual payment of a boar's head as rent. That tradition has continued annually to today.
A real boar's head is sent ahead, and is eaten as part of a grand dinner held in the Mansion House. Originally the boar's had carried in the procession was real, but due to health and safety considerations it is now made of papier mache.