Thursday, May 01, 2008

Padstow, the 'Obby 'Oss and our May Day Celebration


'Obby 'Oss photo by Ennor

Happy May Day! One of the biggest May Day festivals can be found in Padstow, Cornwall. It's called 'Obby 'Oss Day.* Here are some of the lyrics to the Padstow May Day song:

Unite and unite, and let us all unite
For summer is a-comin' today.
And whither we are going we all will unite,
In the merry morning of May.

The young men of Padstow, they might if they would,
For summer is a-comin' today.
They might have built a ship and gilded it with gold
In the merry morning of May.


For the rest of the lyrics to this version of the May Day song, click here. The best audio I could find was this video of Steeleye Span. When my father visited us, he showed me a better quality video of Steeleye Span performing this song on a DVD he owned. The tune is catchy. I found night and day versions of the Padstow song here. [Careful! An audio file loads automatically.] For those of you who want to try out the song on guitar, here are the chords.** There are more recorded versions out there, as a quick iTunes search reveals.

While Lucia's class is delivering paper cones of flowers to people in the community, the big May Day festival is our May Faire this Saturday. This is the first year Lucia will dance in the May Pole Dance, and we're all excited. I'll take photos for sure. I wish I had my birthday camera with its video capabilities, but that's still in the works. I hope that next year I'll be able to capture a video clip for you to see, as long as I get permission from the other kindergarten parents to have their children pictured on my blog.

*Amended May 2nd: "Hobby Horse Day."

**I'm trying them out now, and I'm not sure if they're going to work. I'll let you know. Update: For me, the song works best as a three-chord deal in the key of F (E chord shapes and a capo on the first fret). There are a few chords in the "St. George" section that are beyond my reach. Maybe I'll just strum a B7 and hope for the best.

3 comments:

Lone Star Ma said...

So cool!

TadMack said...

An 'obby oss' -- is it a hobby horse? Kind of looks like it... that's actually cool.

I'm a little ...maybe disappointed that my doughty Scots don't seem to celebrate May Day. It must be because it's a religious holiday of sorts; we DON'T DO RELIGION here. I really did expect a maypole but I'm in a city, not a village. Hm.

Alkelda the Gleeful said...

Yes, it's a hobby-horse. I was actually going to put that in parenthesis, and then it got to be too awkward, so I skipped it. I love festivals, especially that have pagan roots-- probably because there's a good chance that they have something to do with the seasons. I wonder if there are May Day festivals further north-- my sister-in-law has relatives who are staunch Catholic Scots in the north. They still rail against that pretender, Elizabeth I, and say that Mary, Queen of Scots was the true successor to the Tudor throne! (I think they're technically right, but I also think that England was better off with Elizabeth I as ruler. Another discussion for a different blog post, I suppose...)