Monday, April 30, 2018

Padstow's 'Obby 'Oss

The May Day festival in Padstow (also known unaffectionately as Padstein due to Rick Stein's chain of restaurants there) is a centuries-old tradition involving two processions through the fishing port town, each led by a hobby horse or 'Obby 'Oss. It was a wonderful experience when I went a couple of years ago but the sight of the 'Obby 'Oss alarmed me. Reminiscent of a cross between an evil Father Christmas, African tribal masks, Punch & Judy and something from The Wicker Man, the 'Obby 'Oss is an unpredictable beast, charging through crowds of people in the hope of capturing a fair maiden (so I was probably fairly safe then).

As tradition goes, from midnight today (the day before May Day), locals will decorate the town with flags, flowers and the maypole. Then late morning on May Day itself the processions begin, consisting of traditional dancing and singing. Locals are dressed in white with red scarves, some playing musical instruments. The 'Obby 'Osses, one red and one blue, are guided through town by the Teazers, who lead the dance with a club in their hands. Thousands of tourists also litter the narrow, windy streets.

See photos of Cornwall in my Flickr album, including some from the 'Obby 'Oss festival in 2016.

Previously on Barnflakes:
Beauty and the Brutalist exhibition
The Morris Dance Murders movie
Barnflakes goes Cornwall
Celebrating Cornwall's mining heritage
Notes on Cornish fiction

No comments :