Discover more about May Day history and tradition

Ickwell May Day
Ickwell May Day

If you have enjoyed the celebrations at Ickwell during the traditional May Day festivities, you may wonder about its history.

Ickwell May Day is a celebration of spring held on the beautiful village green and the earliest documented festivities were in 1565.

By then it had become a Christian festival, though its origins likely pre-date Christianity to the pagan Beltane festivals. In 1872 Squire John Harvey erected a permanent maypole and left a bequest in his will to fund the annual celebration.

This weekend offers the opportunity to discover more about the more recent history in an exhibition being given by the Ickwell May Day Committee.

The Ickwell May Day Archive Display is being held in Ickwell village hall on Saturday, June 17 and Sunday, June 18, from 11am until 4pm.

Visitors are welcome to view photographs and film footage of May Day events through the years in the display from Ickwell May Day Committee’s archives.

Refreshments will be served.

The Ickwell and District May Day Committee was formed in 1945 and it now organises the games, refreshments, contests, dances, music and other activities, including the crowning of the May Queen. Its documented age and long history means the Ickwell May Day has become something of an attraction, and is listed on the East of England Tourist Board’s publicity for ‘May Day Bank Holiday in the East of England’.