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May Day Merriment

Chiltern Open Air Museum

May 5 @ 10:00 am - May 6 @ 5:00 pm

Experience Elizabethan May Day merriment with dancing, swordplay, gunpowder and more!

May Day was a time to rejoice and make merry, as people welcomed the arrival of spring and the promise of a bountiful year ahead. It was a time to gather and feast, with communities coming together for large meals and communal celebrations. Food and drink were abundant, and people indulged in merrymaking and revelry.

At this special event, the Suffolk Free Company and Myal Pyper will transport us back in time to the Elizabethan era, giving us a unique insight into the lives and festivities of that period.

Upon the Village Green the May Tree needs preparing, round which, for your enjoyment and to join in with, there will be music and dancing to the finest tunes and the most popular dances of the time. Noise is a big part of the May Day celebration, to awaken Spring, and, further to that end, there will be a display of fire power, featuring the black powder weapons of the day showing just how effective they can be at defeating that old adversary, the cabbage! The soldiers will lead new recruits (the audience!) of all ages in a military drill, and there will be a display of fine swordsmanship.

In between, you can wander amongst the encampment and see what is being eaten, drunk, made and mended. There will be sumptuous food being prepared and a variety of crafts people about their business, all for you to engage with or just listen, as you wish, though there will be no broom makers, this is considered extremely bad luck at May Day, as is going fishing!


May 5 @ 10:00 am
May 6 @ 5:00 pm


Chiltern Open Air Museum
Newland Park
Chalfont Saint Giles, HP8 4AB United Kingdom
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This is the MyMarlow events calendar, the best place to find out what’s coming up locally.