Embracing Tradition: The Joyful Celebration of the Obby Oss

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Padstow Harbour

Today is the day that one of the most vibrant and intriguing customs that you’ll find nestled in the heart of Cornwall – the Obby Oss festival – is celebrated. Picture this: colourful ribbons fluttering in the breeze, lively music filling the air, and a community coming together to celebrate in a spectacle that’s truly one-of-a-kind.

Now, imagine wandering through the winding streets of Padstow on the morning of May 1st, where every nook and cranny is adorned with floral arrangements and bunting. It’s a sight to behold. As the clock strikes midnight, the town bursts into life with the beating of drums and the spirited voices of locals and visitors alike, heralding the start of the festivities.

The phrase ‘Obby Oss’ is believed to originate from the Cornish words ‘hobby horse’. The heart and soul of the Obby Oss festival lie in the processions led by two iconic horses – the Red (Old) and Blue (Peace) Oss. Bedecked in brightly coloured ribbons and led by a troupe of revellers known as the ‘Teasers’, these mystical creatures weave through the streets, captivating onlookers with their rhythmic dance.

But here’s the twist – the Obby Oss isn’t just a spectator sport; it’s an invitation to join in the revelry! Locals and visitors alike are encouraged to dance alongside the Oss, trailing behind as it winds its way through the town. It’s a joyous expression of community spirit, where age, background, or dance ability doesn’t matter – all are welcome to partake in the fun.

And let’s not forget the music. Traditional melodies, played on accordions and drums, echo through the streets, setting the perfect soundtrack for this whirlwind of colour and movement. It’s impossible to resist the urge to tap your feet and join the merry throng as they celebrate the arrival of spring with unbridled enthusiasm.

As the day unfolds, the festivities continue with Maypole dancing, Morris dancing, and a large variety of other traditional activities, ensuring that there’s never a dull moment in Padstow. And when the sun sets on this magical day, leaving behind memories of laughter and a touch of enchantment, you’ll find yourself already counting down the days until the next Obby Oss festival rolls around.

So, if you’re seeking an experience that’s steeped in history, brimming with joy, and guaranteed to leave you with a smile from ear to ear, look no further than the Obby Oss festival in Padstow. Come join the celebration, and let the spirit of this ancient tradition sweep you off your feet.