If you happen to be in Padstow at the beginning of May you will notice that something special is going on. The May Day celebration is a long standing tradition that has occurred in Padstow for as long as can be remembered and something that the Padstonians cherish each year.
The thought is that the celebrations may have first started back in ancient Celtic times and is a pagan festival to symbolise fertility and to welcome in summer.
Today May Day and the ‘Obby Oss’ attract thousands of visitors into Padstow each year. Why may you ask…..well for starters it’s great fun and you wont be able to resist being charmed by it all! Padstow is transformed with spring flowers and the traditional colours of blue and red. The whole town from the young to the old join in singing and dancing to the traditional May Day songs, whilst the two magnificant Obby Oss twists and turns down the streets truly is one of those special events that shouldn’t be missed.
The blue and red colours that decorate the town are to show support for the two ‘Obby Oss’. The red colour shows support for the old Oss whilst the blue represents the Peace Oss, this is in relation to the fact it was brought in after World War One in 1919. It is also know as the Tempeance Oss as the original supporters tried to discourage Drunkeness!!!
The old and Blue ‘Obby Oss’ dance around to the May Song which is played by accordianists and drummers whilst everyone sings, the two Oss continue to dance around the streets of Padstow followed by their supporers. The Obby Oss outfit itself is worn by various members of each group whilst others take turns to tease the Oss as they dance throughtout the streets. At the end of the day the two Obby Oss meet around the Maypole before they return to their ‘stables’ where supporters sing about the death of the Oss until the reasurection the next following May Eve.
May Day in Padstow is a lovely way to welcome in the summer and for me it truly symbolises the start of a new holiday season.