Ms Hannant observed many of these customs have a distinct Pagan element. "That is what fascinated me particularly," the photographer said, "the desire to connect to a potential Pagan past." These customs also often attract a huge turnout, such as the Jack-in-the-Green in Hastings in May (pictured), which attracts thousands of people and has a parade including giants, Morris dancers and fire-eaters. They lead Jack to the top of the castle hill, where he is ceremonially slain.

In pictures: English ritual year

Hastings Jack-in-the-Green, Sussex (Mummers, Maypoles and Milkmaids: A Journey Through the English Ritual Year, Sara Hannant)

The 'Obby Oss' May Day Festival in Padstow Cornwall. Illustration by Alice Pattullo

The 'Obby Oss' May Day Festival in Padstow Cornwall. Illustration by Alice Pattullo

"Merrie England": Tim Walker Shoots English Folk Culture for Vogue UK July 2011. Pictured is the Red Leicester Morris Man.  It is nearly 32 years, since Paul Whiting, looking for an alternative to rugby, alighted on the Red Leicester side. "Morris is very like rugby," says Whiting. "There's the same camaraderie and discipline. You dance as a team."

"Merrie England": Tim Walker Shoots English Folk Culture for Vogue UK July 2011

Castleton Garland Day, 29th May, Simon Costin, Museum of British Folklore

Castleton Garland Day A May Day celebration where the "king" is paraded through the streets on a horse, (stopping at every pub obviously)

Padstow Obby Oss. May day

Padstow hobby horse: Each May Day in Padstow, Cornwall, a folk custom takes place where two separate processions make their way around the town, each containing someone dressed as a 'hobby horse' known as the 'Obby 'Oss.

Padstow Obby Oss - read how this very quirky tradition got started in Cornwall www.thequirkytraveller.com

The Padstow Obby Oss May Day Tradition

Traditional May Day celebration of the Padstow Obby Oss (Hobby Horse) and the change from a pagan ritual to modern quirky celebration

Memories of a magical May 1st during my childhood whilst staying in Padstow, Cornwall.  We watched the Obby Osses dance through the town.  A memory only slightly tarnished by watching the Wickerman later in life!

Memories of a magical May during my childhood whilst staying in Padstow, Cornwall. We watched the Obby Osses dance through the town. A memory only slightly tarnished by watching the Wickerman later in life!

Children's Dance...Flora Day, Helston Cornwall UK -

Flora Day, Helston Cornwall UK - I took part in the children's dance in 1977 &

Pinterest
Search