Monday, May 07, 2007

LUSTLEIGH MAYDAY, Saturday May 5th.

This is an Annual Event in my village.
Jess was crowned May Queen - The queen is selected from those girls who have danced the most years and then the names go in a hat. Awww, I've known her since she was a baby - and now she's a young woman. Her name will be carved, alongside all the others, on the rock in the Orchard (the one the throne is perched on).

I missed the ceremony - I was facepainting all afternoon. Forgot my camera so I'm glad my neighbour sent me this link of a video of the day. Thanks Mrpopvideo2 whoever you are. My favourite shot is at around 01min40secs - Jess turning and smiling for the camera completely unselfconsciously.

Of course, the entire ceremony is pagan and all about fertility rites: the boys carry sticks and the girls dress in white. My son danced once - managed to do the entire thing with his hands in his pockets! I love the way the vicar is drafted in to bless the ceremony to make it 'all right', ie to sanitise the affair.

Dave Wills is the Town Crier leading the procession - he leads the brass band and all the girls and boys around the village - and the procession stops at Bishopstone, Brookfield and Wreyland Manor to sing Spring Songs to greet the May Queen. Back at the village centre the vicar 'blesses' the Queen and all, and then she is led (in her flowery bower) to the Orchard where she takes her seat on the Mayday rock throne and is crowned. Then the dance around the Maypole begins.

There are bottle stalls and coconut shies and facepainting (courtesy of yours truly) and beat the rat and lucky dips and icecream and cream teas in the village hall. WE had fantastic weather and an excellent turnout.


Yvonne said...

Thanks for posting this - it brought back so many happy memories of the days when I danced around the maypole and attended the Queen

Seahorse said...

I was the May Queen of my small Yorkshire village in 1979! I was only 11 and pretty much oblivious to the roots of it all but it's something I'm really rather proud of now :)

Glad you had such an enjoyable day!

ambermoggie said...

Looks wonderful:) I love the may day beltaine ceremonies
bright blessings

Terri said...

Nice! That video brought back memories for me too, although the May Day celebration I was involved in was at my old elementary school when I was 7. I thought the pole wrapped in ribbons was so pretty!

Kendra said...

I miss all these things now I live just outside London. I grew up in a small town in Devon and your post really took me back.

Steve Price said...


Misterpopvideo2 here - Steve Price - I grew up in Lustleigh, my Dad taught the Maypole dancing when I was a kid and several of my aunts were May Queen, starting with Edna Dray in 1936.

I've only missed 2 May Days in Lustleigh in my 42 years, and I still go back to the village regularly as my family still live there.

If you'd like a DVD of the video clip please let me know and I'll send you one.

Thanks for posting my video here.

Kind regards,

Steve Price.

Piglottie said...

Wonderful video TutMut, thanks for sharing. Makes me wish I lived in a small village. And the flowers were all stunning :)

Riggwelter said...

Oh wow! what a brillinat post!

Glad you had such a great day.

Artis-Anne said...

How great that the tradition is still going; sounds like a great day all round

Rain said...

That sounds like fabulous fun.