May Morning: A Great Oxford Tradition

One of the most famous traditions in Oxford is that of May Morning.
At the very break of dawn – 6am – both the townspeople and students gather in vast numbers on Magdalen Bridge to hear the choir of Magdalen College sing from the tower, a tradition that has continued for more than 500 years. Some students will have stayed up all night, and will still be in black tie from balls the night before.
Then everyone spills out from Magdalen Bridge into the city centre, where they are greeted by a variety of bands, Morris dancers and stalls selling much-needed coffee! Many people there followed the tradition of dressing in green, from a discreet scarf to head-to-toe costume.
Here are some photos to give you a flavour of this year’s May Morning celebrations:
Traditional Morris dancers entertained the crowd on Broad Street.
Image shows Morris Dancers on May Morning.
More modern Morris dancers were in Radcliffe Square.
Image shows Morris Dancers outside the Radcliffe Camera on May Morning.
A large folk group got people dancing on the steps of the Clarendon Building.
Image shows someone playing bagpipes.
Some Morris dancers made distinctive costume choices!
Image shows a Morris dancer with a hat that looks like a piece of cheese.
‘Horns of Plenty’ performed outside Queen’s College.
Image shows 'Horns of Plenty' band performing.
More Morris dancers performed on the High Street.
Image shows Morris dancers going down the High Street.
May Morning is always good for interesting outfits!
Image shows someone wearing a green horse mask.
Large crowds gathered all over Oxford – this is outside the Sheldonian.
Image shows the crowd outside the Sheldonian.
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All photos courtesy of Donald Judge, with many thanks.