'Oss 'Oss Wee 'Oss

Yesterday I was lucky enough to go to 'Obby 'Oss in Padstow and it was utterly perfect weather (which was a surprise).

'Obby 'Oss is a strange and ancient pagan festival peculiar to Padstow celebrating May Day. My friend Carol lives in Padstow and we walked down through the woods into the town.

Padstow Cornwall

Even from there we could hear the traditional May Day Song which starts ...

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. 
Arise up Mr. ..... I know you well afine, 
For summer is acome unto day, 
You have a shilling in your purse and I wish it were in mine, 
In the merry morning of May

... and is sung round the town to get everyone (who isn't already up - exciting times) awake and celebrating. This day is HUGE in Padstow and whilst the streets are packed it is amazingly uncommercial - just a wonderful celebration of summer.

This music is played continuously throughout the day and there is much spontaneous dancing in the streets.

red 'oss dancing in Padstow streets

This is the red 'oss ('obby 'oss, of course, means hobby horse but as you can see there is no resemblance) which is the traditional old 'oss, there is also a blue peace 'oss who came into being after the First World War.

Anyhoo they dance to the rhythmic music around the steep streets and harbour of lovely old Padstow being constantly teased by a dancing "teaser".

'oss teaser

Beware of getting too close to the 'oss because if he catches you under his skirts you will be pregnant within the year (I am not sure in these days of equality and PC if this also applies to boys) - fair enough this is a fertility rite!

'Obby 'Oss day in Padstow

That's enough about 'obby 'osses.

Carol and I followed the red 'oss for a while, sometimes it must get tired because occasionally the singers change pace, sing a slow song and the 'oss slumps into a little sleep on the ground for a few minutes - roused by a hearty shout. 

 We then retired to Carol's daughter Wendy's lovely little Bed and Breakfast in the heart of the town, Cyntwell

Cyntwell B & B, Padstow, Cornwall

Here we sat out in the sun eating crab sarnies, gorgeous homemade chocky cake and drinking some refreshing bevvies.

gorgeous chunk of chocolate cake

On the way back through the woods I picked wild garlic and it is my intention this year to make Wild Garlic Butter which I shall then use in a variety of ways.

freshly picked wild garlic leaves and flowers

In other news ...

~ I have a red nose.
~ They must love a party in Padstow, I see that it was a year ago today that I saw my first Christmas advert.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I can still hear the drums. It's local day today and they are still singing and dancing, probably with a cardboard oss!