May day has traditionally been celebrated across many cultures in the Northern hemisphere as the the day when the the sun returns after months of winter darkness. Given how awful the weather has been over the last few days I was really starting to think that maybe we would have to wait a bit longer for the sun to return. But this morning we were greeted by glorious blue skies and unbroken sunshine and in the words of the Padstow Oss song – summer really was “a come unto day”*
I have been looking for a chance to get some filming done for this site and to sow the seed of an idea I have about completing 108 sun salutations on the summer solstice (more on that in tomorrow’s post). So off the the Village Green it was (not to dance around the Maypole as sadly we don’t have one) but to have a little yoga filming and photo shoot.
The resulting video is of a few rounds of the Sun salutation (surya namaskar) done with the traditional chant that can sometimes accompany each of the 12 positions. Although I have been practising the sun salutations for many years I only experienced this for the first time on my teacher training course when one of our lovely tutors Smita introduced this way of practising. I found this particular set of chants by Frantz Kai on Spotify and there are 3, 6 or 12 rounds to chosee from which is great for practice – here is the: LINK
And here is the video – thanks to my son Tom of Muller Media for the excellent filming and super quick editing!
*May Day or ‘Obby ‘Oss Day as it is known) is the biggest day in Padstow’s calendar. It is not unusual to see 30,000 people crammed into this little town on the day when Padstonians from all over the world return to their roots. The origins of the Obby Oss are numerous. Some say the celebration has its roots in pagan times, others that it’s a rain maker, a fertility symbol, a deterrent to a possible landing by the French some centuries ago or perhaps a welcome to the summer.
Locals spend the night decorating the town’s streets with flags, flowers and greenery complete with a maypole and the following morning two “osses”, one red and one blue emerge from their stables. The “osses”, swirling and dancing proceed through Padstow’s streets taunted by a Teazer, who leads the dance with theatrical movements. The accompanying retinue are dressed all in white with their costumes decorated with ribbons and sprays of cowslips and bluebells. As the procession moves around the town, dancers perform a traditional gyrating dance to the sound of musicians and drummers. Last, but not least, are the followers, young and old who join the procession every year singing of the traditional May Song.