Friday, 8 May 2009

Traditional events welcoming summer

Early May in Cornwall sees traditional events associated with particular communities welcoming in the summer. Two of these - Padstow's 'Obby 'Oss Day and the Flora Dance down west at Helston - are known the world over. I have to admit that I didn't go to either of these this year, I have been to Padstow for the First of May celebrations before but have yet to watch the Flora Dance which takes place on the eighth i.e. today. They were blessed with dry weather as indeed we were for the May Day Revels last Monday evening at Calstock. I explained what goes on with the Calstock event when I wrote about it 12 months ago. See here. This time we omitted the follow up in the Tamar Inn with its music and singing but instead enjoyed the walk back home through the flower bedecked lanes. As to the 'Revels' themselves we followed the Giant through the village whilst playing the traditional revels music. This time I was given something to blow, not sure what it's called but it is a whistle shaped object (thanks for the loan Jean!). I have a feeling my notes were a little flat at times, or possibly most of the time, but hopefully in the general cacophony of sound that wasn't too noticeable! Although members of 'The Rubber Band' lead the music it is open to others to join in the merriment. After the procession reached the Quay it was straight on with the children dancing around the maypole, the acting out of a mummers play and then the Giant going off down river in a boat never to be seen again. (Well not quite true the last bit - he always mysteriously appears the following year!)

The atmosphere for this event is quite, quite brilliant. It really does bring the whole community together in just the way it should. What an absolute pleasure to have been there!

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