The Golden Lion, Padstow

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The Obby Oss

The 'Obby 'Oss festival takes place annually on May 1st in Padstow to celebrate the arrival of Summer. The origins of the festival are believed to lie in the Celtic festival of Baltane and the festival is speculated to be the oldest of May Day traditions in the country.

The 1st of May

The festival starts at midnight on May 1st at the Golden Lion with unaccompanied singing of the traditional May Day song and spreads out though Padstow town centre. The town is then decorated with flags, greenery and flowers such as bluebells, forget-me-nots and cowslips; by morning a maypole has been erected.

The 'Obby 'Oss is released from its stable in the pub early in the morning and, accompanied by drumming, dances first around the harbour and then throughout the town attempting to catch girls and young women. The Red 'Obby 'Oss - known as the "Old" 'Oss - looks like a black caped animal with a mask and represents a stallion.

The climax of the festival is the dance of the 'Obby 'Oss around the Maypole, and is preceded by the dance of the "Wee 'Oss", a smaller 'Oss operated by children.

Our history

The Golden Lion dates back to the 14th century and is the oldest inn in Padstow.

Obby Oss



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