May Day Celebrations

Published: Friday 27th Apr 2018

Written by: Charlie

Merry merry May!

A truly stunning time of year - when fresh, warm breezes blow and plants and flowers burst into life.   

May is the traditional time of year for ushering in the spring - it’s celebrated in Cornwall, and many other places, by May festivals - full of colour, music and dancing!

Cornwall has an abundance of celebrations and festivals to enjoy - why not pop along while you are on holiday to join in the townsfolk’s celebration of spring!

Padstow May Day

One of the better known festivals, Padstow’s May Day (or Obby Oss Day) is celebrated on 1st May (or the 2nd if the 1st falls on a Sunday).

The town is festooned with greenery and spring flowers and the streets are criss-crossed with colourful flags culminating in the spectacular maypole.  The May Song can be heard throughout the day and in the days running up to the main event!  There are two Obby Osses (red and blue) with dancers, followers and musicians processing round the town to the beat of the drums and the accordions’ tune.


St Ives May Day

Also on 1st May is St Ives May Day.  A slightly more genteel affair, the main festivities begin at midday when the May King and Queen are chosen. 

The day is full of music and dancing with performances by several local choirs and brass bands throughout the day, a parade to the harbour where maypole dancers delight and many traditional performances including May sticks and Cornish music and dancing.

Why not get the train in?  There is a park and ride from Lelant Saltings (between Hayle and Carbis Bay) so you get parking and a little train journey with stunning scenery right into the heart of St Ives.

West Looe May Fayre

In early May (in 2018 it will be Saturday 5th May), the town of Looe is also ready to welcome in the spring, with a maypole (where anyone can join in the dancing!) and a procession through West Looe. 

Expect music, dancing and plenty of entertainment throughout the day.  There are also stalls with crafts, competitions and games for young and old to enjoy.  Singing and music delight the crowds and it makes for a great family day out.


Helston Flora Day

Every year the town of Helston buzzes with the Flora Day celebrations.  Held on 8th May or the previous Saturday if the 8th falls on a Sunday or Monday (in 2018 it’s on Tuesday 8th May), this ancient festival has been celebrated for hundreds of years.

The atmosphere in the town is incredible - colour, music and spectacle radiate through the town which is adorned with greenery and flowers.  Ladies, dressed in their brightly coloured finery, are accompanied by men in top hats and tails.  The couples process and dance through the streets, occasionally entering buildings to banish the winter darkness.  Music is provided by the Helston Town Band, playing their traditional tune.



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