May Day celebrations

A fortnight to go before the first of Monday in May – a bank holiday here in England where we herald the beginning of summer, this year will be a cold wet one if this weather continues. In Cornwall the mayday celebrations are best known in Padstow and Helston but our little corner has it’s own day too. The Black Prince Flower Boat Procession, where a flower-decorated model boat the ‘Black Prince’, is carried through the villages by four Naval Ratings from HMS Raleigh, the event is seen as symbolically marking the death of winter, with the launch of the boat carrying the dead season away.

Children’s maypole dancing starts it off at around 10am before the procession moves off from Millbrook Quay  proceeding through the streets of the village with stops en route for dancing by visiting morris dancers. The procession then moves on to Kingsand and Cawsand where the Black Prince will be launched into the sea from Cawsand Beach, to the strains of the launching song.

The streets get quite crowded – just like Padstow

these photos are from 2011 which celebrated it’s 25th year since being revived.

More information

There’s a lovely photo from the 1920’s here that shows the older version of the procession


About Ruth

I am an actor and theatre maker, I moved down to the SW of England 19 years ago with my partner and son. Five years ago we bought a chalet on the Rame Peninsula and are fully embracing life of the cliff.
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2 Responses to May Day celebrations

  1. Mama Peril says:

    Everyone should try to visit a May day in their lifetime. The songs are enchanting and it’s a great insight into cultures along the Coast.

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