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.