Friday, 27 June 2008

Golowan

This weekend sees the final celebrations for Golowan here in Penzance (and you thought this weekend was all about Glastonbury? Think again...) Golowan is the ancient Cornish Festival of Midsummer and is celebrated on the feast of St John the Baptist. Cornwall has a tradition of celebrating the summer solstice and on St John's Eve, 23 June, midsummer bonfires and beacons blaze from the carns and hilltops across our land, maintaining a continuity with ancient pagan and Celtic traditions.


Golowan was revived in the early 1990s and is now a ten-day arts event, culminating this weekend in Mazey Day and Quay Fair Day. One of the things I love about this festival is the way town is decorated with these wonderful bright banners and flags. They line our two main streets, the adjoining side streets, and the promenade.


Mazey Day (or mad day) sees a town in party mode, with parades, street entertainment, live music, the unmistakable golowan band, all dressed in white with blue, gold and black sashes, and street stalls, arts and crafts. A speech is made by the new mock mayor (who will be elected tonight, Mazey Eve) and who oversees the weekend's celebrations and traditions.


Sunday brings Quay Fair Day down to the harbour, promenade, and our very own lido, the Jubilee Pool (also adorned with banners). Be entertained by street performers and live music, visit the funfair and market stalls, and look out to sea to catch a glimpse of the visiting flotilla of boats.


The banners are made each year in the local community and schools - anyone can join in a banner-making workshop, though I confess I have yet to do so. All these vibrant seaside colours remind me of these two gorgeous quilts. Sally Anne called hers 'A Summer Sea' and Jane's is 'Swimming Pool Quilt' . They both echo the colours I adore, and see all around me in the sea and sky. One day, I'll make my own version. One day...


I suspect these images are very familiar to Pipany and Alice.

I think I might be joining in some celebrations this weekend. I hope you have a bright and colourful time too...

7 comments:

Pipany said...

Oh I forgot it is Golowan time! How on earth did I manage that? Jealous, jealous cos I can't make it this year but I hope the sun comes out and you have just the best time Diana. The flag photos will have to keep me going for now, but take lots of pics to put in your blog next week xx

kristina said...

The banners and your pictures of the banners are absolutely gorgeous! These are some of my favorite colors too--just looking at them makes me think of the sea :) K x

Mr Pineapples said...

"Golowan is the ancient Cornish Festival of Midsummer"

Dont believe a bleedin' word of it/

Golowan was invented by the local farmers' market...any olde ruse to bring in the punters

funkymonkey said...

Fantastic photographs _ I love Penzance and hope to visit when I visit Cornwall as a Grockle ina few weeks time.

this is my patch said...

Nice to hear of the celebrations that go on throughout the year. I am very fortunate to live on the coast in West Sussex, but not wanting to appear ungrateful, I would much rather be living on the coast in Cornwall. x

suzanne said...

Beautifully evocative photographs - I can feel the brisk sea breeze and smell the salty air!

alice c said...

I love the Lido - my sister has a season ticket and swims there most mornings - I wonder if you know her!