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Celtic Festivals

There are eight main Celtic Festivals - earth's natural calendar, the cycles of Nature - recognised by Celts, Pagans and Wiccans as sabbats :

Samhain, Midwinter Solstice or Yule, Imbolc, Spring/Vernal Equinox, Beltane, Midsummer Solstice, Lammas and the Autumn Equinox

The changes in the seasons reflect our lives - changing through birth, maturity, old age and death.


Padstow 'oss

May day

1st May

The 'Obby 'Oss, (local for

padstow 'Obby 'Oss may Day celeebration

Hobby Horse), is a traditional annual event on May day at Padstow, Cornwall.

The Cornish May day tradition is strongly linked to the Beltane celtic festival and celebrates the coming of Summer - "Summer Is Icumen In"
(a traditional English medieval round).

The 'Obby 'Oss is made of a wooden hoop (about 6 feet in diameter) covered to the ground with a black sailcloth and topped with a fearsome headmask and tail. The wearing of animal skins was believed to be a relic of a Pagan sacred marriage between earth and sky, and the dance enacts the fertility god sacrificed for the good of his people.

There are two 'Osses - the "Old" and the "Blue Ribbon" 'Osses.

The celebrations begin at midnight on May 1 with singing around the town. Padstow is dressed with greenery, flowers (especially bluebells and cowslips) and flags, with a be-decked and garlanded colourful maypole in the square.

Padstow maypole

Unite and unite and let us all unite,
For summer is acome unto day,
And whither we are going we will all unite,
In the merry morning of May.

Where are the young men thay here now should dance,
For summer is acome unto day,
Some they are in England and some they are in France
In the merry morning of May.

Where are the maidens that here now should sing
For summer is acome unto day,
They are in the meadows the flowers gathering,
In the merry morning of May.

At 10am the Blue Ribbon 'Oss emerges from the Institute to a great roar from the crowd, and later the Old 'Oss comes out of the Golden Lion Inn to an enthusiastic welcome from his followers. The locals are dressed in white and wear a red or blue ribbon and scarf according to which 'Oss they support.

The 'Osses journey around Padstow, accompanied by musicians with accordians and drums and their followers, in and out of the narrow streets, up and down the steep lanes, down to the harbour, through the church and manor house and meet at the maypole in the town's square.

May Day Padstow 'Obby 'Oss 2012 pics

May day Padstow old oss poster

Blue ribbon oss headquarters

Blue ribbon obby oss flags

teaser dances with obby oss

Old Obby Oss comes out

Obby oss mask

two osses dance round the maypole

red ribbon oss

Padstow pirates

Blue ribbon May day poster

oss visits Padstow church

Blue ribbon obby oss band

Maypole in Padstow

Padstow obby oss

obby oss head

Doom bar pirates

Padstow harbour May day

may day finale

Padstow maypole  May day 2012

dancing obby oss

obby oss takes a breather

May day evening Padstow

Best mayday hat 2012

blue oss comes out

obby oss at harbour

Padstow seagull

May day 2012 Padstow

Padstow Doom bar pirate musicians

may day dance round maypole

Blue ribbon oss band

two osses celebrate May day

obby oss cape

farewell to obby oss




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