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Encyclopedia > 'Obby 'Oss festival
The Old 'Oss capturing a passing maiden during the Mayday festival.
The Old 'Oss capturing a passing maiden during the Mayday festival.
The Old 'Oss party attending the 'Obby 'Oss with dozens of accordions and drums.
The Old 'Oss party attending the 'Obby 'Oss with dozens of accordions and drums.

Padstow, in Cornwall, UK is internationally famous for its traditional 'Obby 'Oss festival (slang for Hobby Horse festival). Held annually on 1 May, its origins are unclear, but most likely stems from an ancient fertility rite, perhaps the Celtic festival of Beltane. The festival starts at midnight on May Eve when Padstonians sing the "Morning Song". Image File history File links Red_obby_oss_maiden_20050502. ... Image File history File links Red_obby_oss_maiden_20050502. ... Image File history File links Red_obby_oss_party_20050502. ... Image File history File links Red_obby_oss_party_20050502. ... Location within the British Isles Padstow (Cornish: Lannwedhenek) is a small town on the north coast of Cornwall, United Kingdom, approximately 14 miles east of Newquay, at the mouth of the River Camel (Grid reference SW919754). ... Cornwall (Cornish: Kernow) is a county in South West England on the peninsula that lies to the west of the River Tamar. ... May 1 is the 121st day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (122nd in leap years). ... Fertility rites are religious rituals that reenact, either actually or symbolically, sexual acts and/or reproductive processes. ... A Celtic cross. ... This article is about the Gaelic holiday. ...


In the morning, the town is dressed with greenery, flowers and flags with the centrepoint being the maypole. The climax arrives when male dancers cavort through the town dressed as one of two 'Obby 'Osses, the "Old" and the "Blue Ribbon" 'Obby 'Osses. As the name suggests the costumes are stylised recreations of horses. Accompanied by drums and accordions and prodded on by acolytes known as "Teasers", each 'Oss is adorned by a gruesome mask and black frame-hung cape under which they try to catch young maidens as they pass through the town. Dancing around the maypole, in Ã…mmeberg, Sweden The maypole is a tall wooden pole (traditionally of hawthorn or birch), sometimes erected with several long colored ribbons suspended from the top, festooned with flowers, draped in greenery and strapped with large circular wreaths, depending on local and regional variances. ...


The celebrations continue throughout the day until finally at midnight, the crowd sings of the 'Obby 'Oss death, until its resurrection the following May Eve.


External links

  • About Padstow and 'Obby 'Oss

 
 

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