Saturday, 4 May 2013
The 8th of May is Flora Day
On Wednesday it will be Flora Day in Helston where I used to live. This dancing through the streets dates back to medieval times and serves to celebrate the passing of winter and arrival of Spring. The early morning dance starts at 7 am and the sound of the big bass drum never ceased to excite me all the years I watched and danced on this day. The children's dance is lovely to watch with all the children dressed in white and different head-dresses according to their school. Our daughter danced one year and spent the whole time with a cross look on her face as, with a surname beginning with T, there were no boys left to dance with and she had to dance with another girl!
The midday dance is spectacular with the men in top hats and tails and the ladies dressed in all their finery. It is a huge privilege to be invited to lead the dance and one has to have been born in Helston to be entitled to do this.
All the dancers wear Lily of the Valley and the shops and houses are decorated with bluebells and greenery.
I won't be there this year but every Flora Day my heart is there dancing along to the oh so familiar tune.
If you have never heard of Flora Day you may remember Terry Wogan had a hit with 'The Floral Dance' in 1977 and the Brighouse and Rastrick Band in 1976. Katie Moss wrote the lyrics and music 'founded on an old Cornish air' (as stated on this pamphlet cover) whilst travelling home on the train after an incident which happened whilst visiting Helston on Flora Day in 1911. Apparently she was watching the couples dancing and felt very envious, then a young man came along and swept her off her feet.
Having mentioned bluebells I will include this wonderful photo on Pinterest of Micheldever Wood not too far from where I now live. I bet the scent here is divine!