Hannah, from Bubbleboo Photography returns this month to share various English delights. Today is all about May Day, next week will focus on Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee Celebrations.
Hannah writes…’In ages past, there was a most English of celebrations – the May Day festival. Sadly, this is a tradition that has mostly fallen by the wayside. The modern constraints of time, encroachment of buildings upon traditional villages and their greens and a distinct lack of community spirit have all but done for this age-old event.
Those of you who watch television programmes such as Midsomer Murders may have an idea of what May Day – or any village fete – entails, but otherwise there are sadly few people – even here in England – who will ever have attended such a gathering.
In the small village where my son goes to school, however, May Day is still very much alive and well. Every year, his school (a large Church of England primary) and the school at the bottom of the hill (a tiny Roman Catholic primary) come together for their annual May Day celebration.
The children dress up in their best clothes – the girls in pretty dresses with flowers in their hair, the boys in smart shirts with flower buttonholes.
There is a tractor (donated for the day by a local farmer) which is thoroughly decorated with fresh flowers and streamers. The trailer it pulls serves as a float of sorts for the May ‘royals’ – a May King, Queen, Prince and Princess – voted for by their peers.
There is a procession down (or up!) the hill – the pavements lined with villagers – by the host school (they take turns) to collect the other school. They then make their way back to the host school’s playing field where the event can begin in earnest.
There is music. There is dancing. There is a traditional May Pole, which is intricately decorated with streamers by dancing year 6 pupils in the way that May Poles have been decorated for centuries.
It is a little piece of England’s history that still remains in this small village on the Sussex coast. And – for all the obligatory complaints of heat, tiredness and boredom – it is wonderful.
(And yes, I just had to include the shot of my boy in all his finery – I’m a proud mummy at heart, after all!)’
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BIO: Hannah Rachel Potter is a natural light photographer specialising in portraiture and fine art photography. Based in Sussex, England, Hannah combines freelance writing and photography with being parent and carer for her disabled son.
You can find Hannah here:
Flickr – bubblebooPhotography