07 Sep May Day

Without doubt by far the biggest day in the Padstow calendar. Padstonians in distant corners of the world return for the day that is bigger and more significant for locals that Christmas and New Year combined. Not much is known of its origins, except that it goes back a long way, and that it may have had something to do with terrifying the French during the 100 Years War, although more likely it’s a rollicking, good hearted and well inebriated rite of spring. At its heart are two Obby Osseses – Red and Blue, large bitumen covered ‘Osses’  with men inside wearing garish headdresses. These and a ‘teaser’, usually female, dance around the town at the head processions of locals mostly dressed in white, manyof them playing the May Day tune on accordions and drums. The sky above the old town is a carpet of naval pennants and there is splendid May Pole in Market Square that the locals begin making months in advance. The night before, April 31, the two Osses come together for the one and only time beneath the May Pole, at what for many is the finest moment of the event.