How to celebrate Flora Day at home
Flora Day is without a doubt Helston’s biggest annual event and sadly, this year the event has had to be cancelled due to Coronavirus. But that doesn’t mean you can’t hold your own at-home celebrations on Friday 8th May.
Here’s how to have your own Flora Day, without having to travel.
Make a floral headdress
Gather flowers and greenery from your garden and have a go at making your own floral headdress, like those worn by the children during their morning dance. There’s lots of videos and tutorials online to show you how.
If you don’t have wire to hand maybe you can use a headband, an unwound wire coat hanger or make it on a hat? If you don’t have a garden maybe you could make a fabric or paper headband?
Decorate your home
Businesses and residences in Helston traditionally decorate their doors and frontages with greenery. Whether you use greenery from the garden or make paper flowers, there’s nothing to stop you doing the same!
Local artist Alice Hole has created a special colouring sheet for Flora Day and is encouraging people to colour it and pop it in their window. Download from her website at: alicehole.co.uk/colouring-sheets.html
Don’t forget it’s also VE day — so why not add a touch of red, white and blue?
Learn the steps…
The basic steps to the flora dance are step, step, step, hop. If that’s all you master you can join in. There’s also some walking and some spinning around involved too – watch some of the videos listed below to help you practice.
…then take a fond walk down memory lane
Check out the Flora Day Association Facebook page where you can find loads of videos and photos from Flora Days past. Also send your best photos to our Discover Helston Facebook page and we’ll share them.
You can also take a virtual look at the Museum of Cornish Life in Helston. Director Annette has created a video with details of some of the dresses, souvenirs and photographs in the Museum’s collection.
Get a round in
A pint (or two!) from the Blue Anchor forms a part of many people’s Flora Day celebrations. The Blue are currently offering a free local home delivery service on their Middle and Special brews from four pints to a barrel. Visit their Facebook page for pricing and call them on 01736763581 or 07825212321 to order.
Grab some pasties
Add to the Cornish celebrations with a traditional Cornish pasty for lunch or dinner. Helston-based Ann’s Pasties offer a nationwide delivery service from their website at: annspasties.co.uk
Follow the band
Make sure you’re following Helston Town Band on Facebook. At the time of writing they’d recorded a teaser video suggesting something’s incoming…
A version of the famous tune recorded by band member Ben Reed playing every part is well worth a listen. There’s also one recorded by the band’s Bass Trombone player, Jack Curnow at https://www.facebook.com/ben.reed.5832343/videos/2590875757900559/
On the day (Friday 8th May!)
7am – Bang the drum!
Flora Day traditionally starts with the banging of the drum at 7am. Get your own drums and bang away – a saucepan and wooden spoon will do the job nicely.
Wear a flower.
If you’re lucky enough to be able to get hold of some lily of the valley (Helston’s town flower) that’s the pinnacle – if not then any flower will do – pop it on your hat, pin on your lapel or tuck it behind your ear.
7am, 9:40am, noon and 5pm – Play the tune
The famous Flora Dance tune is a must for the big day. Follow the band on Facebook for their latest versions: https://www.facebook.com/Helston-Town-Band-107812015966176/ or tune into to Coast FM on 96.5fm or coastfm.co.uk/player
You can watch the 2017 midday dance for a real flavour of things at: youtube.com/watch?v=bbuDZ1HsWJI
8:30am – Watch the Hal-An-Tow
At 8:30am ring the bell to welcome the Hal-an-Tow and watch the whole thing from 2016 at: https://youtu.be/S7T1YsrLaok If you want to join in you’ll find the lyrics at: helstonhistory.co.uk/flora-day/hal-an-tow/
Whistles, tambourines and cardboard dragons are definitely encouraged!
9:40am – Dress your kids in white.
Dress your kids in white and encourage them to dance at the time the children’s dance usually sets off.
View the dance at: youtube.com/watch?v=BJ_e0j0fMBE
Midday – Put on your Sunday best
At lunch time this year, anyone can take part in the Midday dance. Pop on your best togs and dance around your garden or your front room.
Remember to do the same at 5pm, grab your pasties for tea and there you have it – Flora Day at home! Don’t forget to share your photos with us using #discoverhelston and #floradayathome