May morning in Oxford is famous for the thousands who gather at 6am to hear a Latin hymn sung from the top of Magdalen College tower.
It is an extraordinary ceremony, but only one feature of Oxford tradition. Maytime revels take place all over
the city, and were already controversial in Britain in 1250 when the Chancellor of Oxford University forbade ‘alike in churches, all dancing in masks or with disorderly noises, and all processions of men wearing wreaths and garlands made of leaves of
trees or flowers or what not.’
This website honours both the historic celebrations and the joyous spontaneity of revels today. You will find photos, videos and any amount of abstruse information about maypoles and morris and much more besides.
Up the May!
Sol Samba march up the High Street, May Morning 2023 (photo Tim Healey (photo Tim Healey)
Jack-in-the-Green proceeds up the High, May Morning 2023 (photo Tim Healey)
Garlands on Broad Street, May Morning 2022 (photo Tim Healey)