just two of hundred of dancers at Helston Floral Day
featured in the World as we see it or as we missed it May 2012
featured in Country Craft and living group May 2012
displayed in The best of Red bubble May 2012
The Furry Dance (pronounced to rhyme with “hurry”), also known as The Flora (or incorrectly as the Floral Dance or the Cornish Floral Dance), takes place in Helston, Cornwall, and is one of the oldest British customs still practised today.1 The dance is very well attended every year and people travel from all over the world to see it: Helston Town Band play all the music for the dances.
The Furry Dance takes place every year on May 8 (or the Saturday before if May 8 falls on a Sunday or Monday). Why “Furry”? In Helston, May 8, the Feast of St. Michael, is called Furry Day.2, and the word probably derives from Cornish: fer, “fair, feast”. It is a celebration of the passing of Winter and the arrival of Spring. The schedule of the day is thus: morning dance at 7 a.m., Hal-an-Tow pageant at 8 a.m., children’s dance at 10 a.m., midday dance at noon, and evening dance at 5 p.m.. Of these, the midday dance is perhaps the best known: it was traditionally the dance of the gentry in the town, and today the men wear top hats and tails while the women dance in their finest frocks.3
Traditionally, the dancers wear lily of the valley, which is Helston’s symbolic flower. The gentlemen wear it on the left, with the flowers pointing upwards, and the ladies wear it upside down on the right.
top ten place in Challenge accepted 2012-08-16
Child photograph on the week 7th -13th May 2012 The world as we see it or as we missed it