Celebrating May Day In Leeds
May Day is a very popular spring festival in the UK. Most people in the UK, will have warm memories of being taught to dance around a maypole at school, skipping and darting through brightly coloured ribbons, trying to remember your cue so you don’t end up in a big twisted mess. The tradition of May Day is very important to the UK, it’s a festival that we try to preserve and carry down the generations.
May Day originates from a pre-Christian times and was celebrated as the first day of summer. As Europe became Christianised May Day evolved into a popular secular celebration. In the UK, May Day celebrations traditionally include Morris dancing, the crowning of a May Queen and celebrations around the maypole. Many of the celebrations include celebrating fertility and new life.
However, around UK new traditions have been forming and you will find events like the Mayday run where thousands of motorbikes travel from London to Hastings. There are also music festivals including traditional and contemporary acts. There is also the Flower Boat Ritual in Cornwall, where a model of a ship, The Black Prince, is covered in flowers and cast adrift in the sea. Most bizarrely, at the University of St Andrews some of the students run into the North Sea at midnight (sometimes naked) and then celebrate with torch lit processions.
May Day in Leeds
In Leeds, there is always plenty to do and for the May Day bank holiday weekend there is no exception. All over the city there are May Day Festivals sporting the traditional Morris dancers along with barbeques and live music. These, tend to be held by local schools, but anyone can attend. However, if you are looking for something different to do there are other events on that may just take your fancy.
Every year, at the Inkwell they hold a fundraising event that includes family activities, live music and real ale tasting. People gather to celebrate the beginning of summer and take in activities like craft workshops for both adults and children. It’s a great way to get out and about and keep the children busy.
There is also the Geronimo Festival at Harewood House where you can enjoy a full circus, jousting and motorcycle displays, a craft zone, donkey rides and appearances from TV stars including Mr Bloom, Swashbuckle and Andy Day. This festival is perfect for children as there is so much for them to see and do. It may not be your traditional May Day festival, but it certainly sounds like an exciting event to attend.
Finally, there is a Live at Leeds Festival over the May Day bank holiday weekend. As a metropolitan festival, it showcases new emerging artists from around the world. Perfect if you love live music and an electric atmosphere. This however, is a ‘leave the kids at home’ type of event.
Published on: 26 Aug 2021