Saturday, July 17, 2010
A couple of weeks ago we went down to Penzance for Mazey Day. This takes place on Saturday of the final weekend of the annual Golowan Festival, the midsummer feast of St John (Gol Jowan) celebrated by a week of events around the town. These include traditional dances, live music and street theatre. In Victorian times it also included blazing tar barrels and people racing through the strrets with flaming torches - activities that the mayor and corporation considered too danagerous. So Golowan was banned. Then in 1991 the festival was resurrected in the form we see today. For me, Mazey Day is particularly special. The main street is closed to traffic for the day, decorated with greenery freshly picked that morning, and lined with stalls. (Not a tar barrel or flaming torch in sight) The weather was glorious: bright sunshine with a hint of cooling breeze. Then at 11 0’clock the procession, accompanied by several bands of musicians, separated by a class of children in costume and featuring every primary school in the area, made its way through the town. After months working with their teachers and local artists, this was their opportunity to display their costumes and the huge and mind-blowing effigies they have created. Watching the children, seeing their pleasure and glowing pride, brought a huge lump to my throat, and I was surrounded by a forest of upstretched hands clutching cameras, mobile phones and videocameras, all anxious to capture the parade.