Culdrose Flora Day Dancers keep tradition alive
The ancient streets of Helston in Cornwall were once again bursting with anticipation and excitement as dancers from the Town took part in the traditional Flora Day pageant.
Joining the Midday Dance as guests of the Mayor of Helston and the Town Council was a group of Royal Naval personnel and their partners from Royal Naval Station Culdrose, including the Commanding Officer Captain Mark Garratt and his wife.
“It’s fantastic really and we are really proud to be part of the day,” said Captain Mark Garratt. “Both myself, my wife and eleven couples from Culdrose are delighted to be taking part in what is one of the traditional days for Helston. It reinforces our links between the Naval Air Station and the community.”
Flora Day is a unique centuries-old tradition that has seen generations of Helstonians take part in the Furry Dance through the busy market town, banishing winter and welcoming the spring, it is one of the most eagerly anticipated traditional events of the Cornish Calendar.
Local people will tell you it represents more than simply wearing fine clothes and doing the Furry Dance through the streets. It represents a community coming together, promoting hope for the future and the lifting of spirits. Several dances take place throughout the day, but it is the Midday dance which is keenly anticipated. Lily of the valley is the flower of the day with the midday dancers, who adhering to a very strict dress code. It was traditionally the dance of the gentry in Helston. Today the men wear top hats and tails while the women dance in their finest frocks and gloves. A policy the Royal Naval contingent followed in fine fashion.
Helston town Mayor Jonathan Radford-Gaby, who led each of the parades, said the day had been a “wonderful experience” for everyone. “We haven’t had ideal weather, but Flora day is bigger than weather,” he said. “The spirit of Flora Day in Helston will never be dampened by the rain.”