Page last updated at 11:05 GMT, Saturday, 1 May 2010 12:05 UK

Padstow crowds celebrate May Day Obby Oss

Obby Oss celebrations in Padstow
Adults and children take their turn to dance with the obby osses

Thousands of people have thronged the streets of Padstow to take part in the traditional Obby Oss celebrations to mark May Day.

Every year Padstonians return home for the event which dates back to pagan times and is thought to be one of England's oldest May Day traditions.

The red and blue obby osses, or hobby horses, were accompanied through the streets by dancers and singers.

Being caught under the cloak of an oss is considered to be good luck.

The exact origins of the Obby Oss are not known, but it is believed to be dedicated to the return of the Celtic sun god Bel.

'Oss teazer'

After being taken from their "stable" the two osses dance through the streets of Padstow, including the harbour.

A dancing figure known as the teazer [teaser] accompanies the osses and prods them with a special stick.

Local school children and adults take turns to dance with the caped osses.

From time to time the music stops and the osses sinks to the ground in a mock death, only to be resurrected a moment later.

At the end of the celebration - about 2200 BST - a song will be sung to mark the "death" of the creature.

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