Celebrating Spring The Cornish Way

Celebrating Spring The Cornish Way

There are a whole host of weird and wonderful traditions in Cornwall and many of them take place in the spring. Let's take a look at celebrating spring the Cornish way...


Trigging takes place every Good Friday on the shores of the Helford River. But what on earth is trigging?! It's an old Cornish word for cockle picking, but is used to refer to the collection of any shellfish. Every Good Friday you'll spot hoards of locals with their wellies, buckets and rakes walking along the banks of the river at low tide, collecting cockles, mussels and other shellfish. 

May Horns

This old celebration has been revived in recent years and takes place on the first Sunday in May. Starting at the boundary of Penzance and Newlyn, people dress in white and green and walk along the seafront blowing whistles and horns to drive out winter and welcome in the warmth of spring. Accompanied by musicians, the Master of Ceremonies and the Lord and Lady of May, it is quite a sight to see!

Bolster Day

On the Sunday before the early spring Bank Holiday in May a festival is held in St Agnes which re-enacts the legend of a giant named Bolster and the Saint Agnes. Apparently Bolster was an unpleasant giant who used to eat the local kids! Using huge puppets a procession and play takes place along the coast from the village of St Agnes to the cliffs above Chapel Porth.

Obby Oss

Every year on 1st May this old folk custom takes place in the small harbour town of Padstow. It starts at midnight and involves two 'hobby horses' called Osses. Each Oss has a different stable in local buildings and is represented by a different colour. The locals wear white and scarves of their Osses colour - red or blue. Which Oss each family is loyal too often goes back many generations. The town is decked out in spring flowers and the Osses and locals parade through the street in song while the Osses whirl and try to catch maidens in their skirts before meeting at the colourful May Pole. No one is quite sure of the origins of the festival as it is one of the UK's oldest surviving celebrations, but it is thought to date back to pagan fertility rites. Why not head to Padstow on 1st May and discover it for yourself...

Flora Day

Another incredibly old custom is the Furry Dance on 8th May in Helston. The festival celebrates the return of spring and fertility with the trees and flowers bursting into life. The houses and shops around the town are decorated with flowers and greenery, and the locals dance through the streets and weave in and out of homes and shops as the town band plays and songs are sung. It's a beautiful sight and one not to be missed.

If you're heading out to enjoy these amazing Cornish traditions then keep away spring showers in our range of coats or pack a picnic in a Roka backpack.