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Minehead's Obby Oss Festival

A-maying at the Obby Oss Festival

News 1977 2 mins Silent

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The Obby Oss Festival has been celebrated in Minehead since 1465, also synonymous with Padstow the celebrations take on a similar theme. Celebrated on the first of May the festival can last up to four days and nights with the tradition of the Hobby Horse dancing in the streets with three rivals appearing on day one ‘Show Night’, saluting the sunrise at the crossroads on day two, and ‘Bootie Night’ takes place on days three and four.

The ‘horses’ are boat shaped frames surrounding the dancer with colourful ribbons attached to the top, with a long tail, the face of the dancer is covered with a large pointed hat. The so-called Obby Oss in local dialect and its visits upon the town are presumed good luck. The horses of Minehead are called ‘Original Sailor’s Horse’, ‘Traditional Horse’ and ‘the Town horse’. May Day festivities are traditional and celebrated as the first day of summer in the Northern hemisphere. Dancing around the Maypole and crowning the Queen of May which John Collier adapts to Queen Gueneviere and her ‘a-maying’ in his poem are the traditional English May Day celebrations.