Folkipedia

Get Started

sliki

Padstow

A village on the North coat of Cornwall and home of the annual May Day 'Obby 'Oss custom. There are two teams of dancers each with their own Hobby Horse. The dance is a procession of the Horses and characters known as Teasers who cajole the horses. The two rival horses meet at midday for a mock battle. Originally only one horse took part (Old 'Oss). A second (Blue 'Oss)was introduced recently (20th century).

The celebrations begin at midnight on May Day. 

 The music and song for the morning dance are familiar in the folk world (made popular by Steeleye Span):

Unite and unite and let us all unite,
For summer it is come unto day;
And whither we are going we all will unite
In the merry morning of May. 

Arise up, Mr. --, and joy you betide,
For summer is come unto day;
And bright is your bride that lays by your side
In the merry morning of May.

Arise up, Mrs. --, and gold be your ring,
For summer is come unto day;
And give to us a cup of ale, the merrier we shall sing
In the merry morning of May.

Arise up, Miss --, all in your smock of silk,
For summer is come unto day;
And all your body under as white as any milk,
In the merry morning of May. 

The young men of Padstow might, if they would,
For summer is come unto day;
They might have built a ship and gilded her with gold
In the merry morning of May.

Now fare you well, and we bid you good cheer,
For summer is come unto day;
We will come no mote unto your house before another year,
In the merry morning of May.

 At night they might sing:

Rise up, Mr. X, I know you well and fine,
for summer is a-come unto day.
You have a shilling in your purse and I wish it was in mine
In the merry morning of May.

 The Day Song for the Mumming aspect (Hal An Tow):

 Awake, St. George, our English knight,
For summer is a' come O, and winter is a go;
And every day God give us His grace
By day and by night O!
 
Where is St. George, where is he O?
He is out in his long boat all on the salt sea O!
And in every land O! the land where'er we go,
And for to fetch the summer home.
The summer and the May O,
For summer is a coming,
And winter is a go.
 
Where are the French dogs that make such boast O?
They shall eat the grey goose feather,
And we will cattle roast O !
And in every land O ! the land where'er we go,
The summer and the May O
 
Thou mightst have shown thy knavish face!
Thou mightst have tarried at home O !
But thou shalt be an old cuckold,
And thou shalt wear the horns O;
The summer and the May O.

With hal-an-tow and jolly rumble O,
For summer is a come O, and winter is a go,
And in every land O, the land where'er we go,
Up flies the kite, and down falls the lark O !
Aunt Ursula Birdhood she had an old ewe,
And she died in her own park O !
And for to fetch the summer home.