Oss Oss! Wee Oss! May Day in Padstow

As I have fallen behind again, it is time for that lovely invention: The Slideshow Post! This one was not on sword dancing, but I have always dreamed of going to Padstow for May Day, and I had a few extra days before my next commitment, so to Padstow I went!

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Here is a video of part of the Night Song: (at around 25 seconds youtube does something strange and it gets static. Hopefully this will be fixed…) 

I stayed for a few extra days in Padstow and was glad I did, as on the second day of may they have another celebration where everyone gets dressed up in costume (this year was pirate themed) and sings songs around all the pubs in a roving party of Merrymakers! I particularly liked this song that was all about Padstow on the second day of May, once it has quieted down from the craziness of May Day.

I thought it was interesting to compare Padstow May Day with Wren Day in Dingle, Ireland. There are also horses that are stabled in different pubs around town and people get dressed up in their own colors and march through the street making music.

The Oss looks different to the Hobby horse from Dingle, but there certainly are similarities!

Ok, that’s all for now! Next time I’ll be writing about the first gathering of all traditional UK Hilt-and-Point sword teams in history, including the Papa Stor sword dancers from the Shetlands! Exciting stuff!

About Jeremy Carter-Gordon

My blog of a year studying point-and-hilt sword dancing on a Watson Fellowship. Enjoy reading, tell me your thoughts and leave me a comment, or visit my website at JeremyCarterGordon.com
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3 Responses to Oss Oss! Wee Oss! May Day in Padstow

  1. Pingback: From Papa Stor to Grenoside: A Gathering of Britain’s Traditional Sword Dance Groups | Chasing the Star of Swords: Sword Dancing on a Watson Fellowship

  2. Mary White says:

    Liza just sent your blog and I found you had been in Padstow. Fabulous – belive it or not, over 30 years ago I was there too. I had just been hiking with Liza in Wales. At one point, musing over our childhood songs I suddently had an image of Jack Langstaff saying to us, emphatically (in fifth grade) “If you are ever in England for May Day, go to —-!”) I had most of the words to Unite and Unite, but Liza came up with the town. As I (not she) had a few days to spare, a long hitch-hike later and there I was. What a time! From your slides, it seems the day hasn’t changed much. But perhaps for one thing – I vaguely recall a lovely song sung at midnight, closing the day, very different from Unite and Unite. For years I tried to find that song. Do you know what I am talking about? It was beautiful, serene, gently sung outside a pub. Quite a contrast.
    Your adventures sound incredible. Enjoy your last weeks!
    Mary White

    • Hi Mary, thanks for reading! That sounds like an amazing experience. As for the song, they did sing a different song at midnight at one point in time, but I am fairly certain it was before you visited. The other posibility is that it was during the stabling of the (probably blue ribbion, but possibily red) Oss at 10 at night after the may day celebrations. This was a song I believe that came into use during WWII and i think is called Farewell, Farewell, My Own True Love. The lyrics that i heard (possibly with some mistakes) are as follows:
      Farewell farewell my own true love
      Farewell farewell my own true love

      How can I bear to leave you
      One parting kiss I’ll give you
      I’ll go what’ere befalls me
      I’ll go where duty calls me

      No more will I behold thee
      Nor in my arms enfold thee
      With spear and penant glancing
      I see the foe advancing

      I think of thee with longing
      Think though while tears are throbing
      That with my last faint sighing
      I whispered soft while dying

      Send me an email and I’ll try to send you the recording I have of it.
      All the best,

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