Giant crow helps Penzance chase the devil of winter away

A giant crow wearing a crown died three times, whilst horn-blowers made as much noise as possible to drive out the devil of winter

Penzance celebrated May Day yesterday evening (Sunday, May 1) by saying goodbye to winter and heralding in summer with the help of a giant crow wearing a crown. Following the colossal corvid along the seafront were a crowd of foliage-clad merry-makers dressed in green and white and blowing all manner of horns.

Normally held on the first Sunday of May, Penzance’s May Horns is growing in popularity every year. The tradition, which was banned by the council in Penzance in 1933 following complaints about the noise, was resurrected by the Cornish Culture Association in recent years.

Dressed in green and white, people join a procession from Newlyn to Penzance at sunset, blowing horns and banging drums in the belief that the noise will ‘drive out the devil of winter’.

The procession is led by a giant crow, Old Ned, who dies three times along the way, overcome by winter, but is brought back to life by the noise of the horns and drums around him.

After making its way along the seafront, the large procession made its way to Chapel Street, where Old Ned died once more outside the Admiral Benbow pub, before being resurrected one final time and taken for a pint.

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