Celebrated on the first Bank Holiday in May, the May Day celebrations date back hundreds of years and occur in major towns such as St. Ives, Penzance and Padstow. There is fun for all the family to join in and celebrate the end of the winter months and look forward to all the joys of summer.
What is May Day?
May Day celebrates the end of Winter and the beginning of Spring in the Northern hemisphere. The local traditions vary but they usually include dancing, songs, flowers and food. In England you can often find morris dancers and may pole dancing taking centre stage, with gatherings and fetes common place. In Padstow they celebrate with the famous Obby-Oss, with the Oss parading through the streets symbolising fertility.
In St. Ives the Grand Bard and the Mayor choose the May Queen and King, Prince and Princess at midday in a ‘pee whip’ ceremony. Dressed in traditional black and white clothes the St. Ives Guisers next blow horns to signal the beginning of Spring. The parade the makes it way along the harbour where you can see the may pole and Cornish dancing along to the upbeat music. Many local bands and choirs perform to the audiences to join in with the Spring celebrations. St. Ives also provided a fish bbq on the harbour for most of the day so you can pop along and sample some local produce on May Day.
How to get there?
The main road through the town will be closed to allow for the dancers to go through the town with ease, so you will need to make alternative arrangements if you wanted to drive into the town. You can either get there early and park in the large Trenwith car park at the top of town, or you could get one of the bus or trains into the town and walk down to the harbour to enjoy the May Day festivities.
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