At the centre of May Day are the Padstow ’Obby ’Osses. These are round creatures meant to represent actual horses. There are two ’Osses: The Red (Old) ’Oss and the Blue (Peace) ’Oss. Both dance through the streets of Padstow, joined by ’Oss parties. Each party takes it in turns to dance in front of their beast, which is known as teasing. Traditionally, people wear white clothes with red or blue to show which ’Oss they support.
On the day, the streets of Padstow fill with people and buildings are decorated with greenery. Many feature young sycamore, which is associated with spring.
During the daytime celebrations, the “Day Song” is sung. The words and tune are unique to Padstow and represent the coming of summer and the history of this Cornish town. In the chorus the ’Oss symbolically dies, falling to the floor while the teaser tries to revive him. At the end of the chorus the ’Oss leaps back to life, madly dancing into the crowd. Towards the close of the celebrations, the ’Osses are put away while their followers sing a song starting with the words “Farewell, farewell my own true love”.