Children's Newsreel - May Day in Devon

This mute 'Children's Newsreel' item records the crowning ceremony of a May Queen in the Devonshire village of Lustleigh, a tradition which continues today. Dating back to Roman times, the ceremony involves a procession through the streets, the crowning of a young May Queen beneath a canopy of flowers and, finally, some traditional maypole dancing. Miss Mabel Bunclark who was the May Queen in 1905, also joins the celebrations.

May Day has its origins in the celebrations of spring that may have been connected with agricultural rituals practised to ensure good crop yields. These rituals included gathering wildflowers, weaving floral garlands, dancing around a may tree or maypole and crowning a May King and May Queen.

Originally broadcast 29 May 1961

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