EACH year Professors of Punch and Judy (as they are known) and other entertainers gather at Covent Garden, London to celebrate the birthday of Mr Punch. It was in Covent Garden that Mr Punch was first seen by diarist Samuel Pepys on May 9th 1662. And for the last 29 years, people have gathered on the Sunday nearest to May 9th to mark Mr Punch's birthday. The day begins with a grand procession around Covent Garden, followed by a toast to Mr Punch by the plaque that marks the sighting by Pepys. A chorus of 'Happy Birthday' follows. The procession then makes its way to St Paul's Church ('the actors' church'). The Professors of Punch and Judy are carrying Punch, Judy, the crocodile and other characters but also in the profession are town criers, clowns, pearly kings and queens, and other entertainers. Inside the church a service is held to celebrate the happiness Punch brings to children all over the world. Mr Punch even takes his place in the pulpit to help with the sermon. It's a very cheerful and magical Christian service. Once the service has ended everyone makes their way outside and for the rest of the day there are Punch and Judy shows in the courtyard around St Paul's.
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