May Day 2021 – Not A Call For Help But A Call For A Bank Holiday Relax

Actually an ancient festival for Spring, it was sort of hijacked at the end of the 18th century for a socialist celebration. Moscow for instance, has a large May Day parade, usually showing off its military power.

May Day also had its roots in astronomy, as a point in between the spring equinox and the summer solstice, a time filled with agricultural celebration, where we envisage cattle, spring flowers, the May King’s and Queens’, Morris dancers and of course the great Maypole! In the middle ages all the traditional villages had their Maypoles where towns would hold competitions to see who had the best Maypole and a whole day of celebrations was one of the highlights of the year. Of course who would not want to continue these celebrations as much as possible and Oxford’s tradition of this day has always been one of the most memorable.

May Day

May Day


















All of that makes for a fun, if not chaotic day, but sadly for the second year running this ancient celebration will be virtual, really not the same though but it’s as near as we can get this year, apart from I’m sure a few separate events of no more than our 6 people allowance!

Now then, I’m an Oxford boy. I wasn’t born there, but I lived there for many years.

In Oxford, the tradition is for an all night party, with the crowds gathering and listening in silence to the choir singing from the top of Magdalene College Tower at 6am, with the pubs opening up straight after !

As a photographer and living quite centrally it would have been wrong if I didn’t get up early and record all this with me camera. Ok, I didn’t do the all night party as I was just too old for that !

A day heralding the onset of summer and a day of celebration,  this is something we could all do with this year and although we can’t celebrate as we may have done in years gone by nevertheless it is a time to be positive and can hold an atmosphere of positivity for us all, with Covid restrictions lifting and hopefully some warmer, sunnier days in store and a good long bank holiday weekend!

My May Day photographs gives some idea of the fun of May Day and let’s hope we can all still enjoy some of this historic celebration this year.

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