Tuesday, May 02, 2006

May Morning in Oxford

Yesterday we set the alarm for 5:15am, threw ourselves into our clothes, stumbled rushed out into the streets of Oxford and headed for Magdalene Bridge. There thousands of celebrants had gathered to greet the dawn. Some looking the worse for wear in their DJ's (US:Tuxedo) and posh frocks having been up all night at a May Ball, some entering into the festive spirit.

may morning crowd

At six o'clock, as the chimes of clock tower faded, the choristers sang in Latin to greet the start of Spring. Then a blessing on the crowd, another burst of singing and the crowd disperse. In our case to a cafe on "The High" for a glass of champagne and 'Full English'.

The blessing may have been Christian but the roots of the occasion are pagan. There were Morris Men with clogs on their feet and "bells on their toes" dancing traditional dances.

may morning morris men

One troupe was accompanied by Jack 'o the Green, looking more like a Christmas tree than anything else, a primitive symbol of fertility.

[BTW this dancing / Jack is happening under the bridge of my alma mater, Hertford college]

may morning Jack 'o the Green

There was street entertainment such as this energetic percussion band. After all this we went back to bed for an hour then checked out the hotel and caught the train to London in time for lunch.
may morning band

1 comment:

Rosa said...

Oh what fun! Now that's a celebration!