Wednesday, 12 September 2007

This is the Blue Obby Oss, and the history-

The festival itself starts at midnight on May 1st with unaccompanied singing around the Town in particular the Golden Lion Inn. In the morning, the town is dressed with greenery, flowers and flags with the centrepoint being the maypole. The climax arrives when dancers cavort through the town dressed as one of two 'Obby 'Osses, the "Old" and the "Blue Ribbon" 'Obby 'Osses, during the day a number of "Junior" osses appear operated by children. As the name suggests, the costumes are stylised recreations of horses. Accompanied by drums and accordions and prodded on by acolytes known as "Teasers", each 'Oss is adorned by a gruesome mask and black frame-hung cape under which they try to catch young maidens as they pass through the town. The Blue ribbon oss is of more recent origin being introduced by members of the Temperance movement who were trying to discourage the consumption of alcohol associated with the "old" oss followers. However many blue oss followers today do drink during the festival. Each oss has a "stable" (in the case of the Old Oss, the Golden Lion Inn and the Blue Ribbon Oss the Harbour Inn) from which they emerge at the start of the day's proceedings and retire at the end. During the festival, around midday, the 'osses meet and conduct a mock battle.

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