Helston Flora Day

...aka The Furry Dance!

Cornwall is home to many historic traditions and celebrations which attract huge crowds, and Helston's ancient Flora Day is one of them.


Flora Day – also known as The Furry Dance – celebrates the arrival of spring and takes place annually on May 8th (or the Saturday before if May 8th falls on a Sunday or Monday) in the attractive market town of Helston, Cornwall - the most southerly town in the UK and just a dozen miles or so from Penzance.
 
This ancient event has been held annually for many centuries and is thought to be one of the oldest British customs still upheld today.
 
The town is dressed with colourful flags and an array of seasonal flowers, including bluebells, and the first dance usually starts at around 7am, heralded by early morning bell ringing from the parish church.
 
Central to the day’s events are the numerous dances and processions which meander their way through the streets, known as the Helston Furry Dance.
 
There are four dances in total, each soundtracked by the Helston Town Band. The Flurry Dan (or Flora Dance) is sacred to Helston Town Band and has never been written down, to ensure it remains only within the band.
 
The celebrations run well into the evening. As well as the dances, a host of other activities and attractions can be found, including stalls selling local crafts and comestibles, a fairground and, of course, local hostelries serving good beers to fuel the festivities.  


Sean Cummins

March 2011





 

Last Updated: 28 Apr 2015