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Brimful of spring fun
Morris dancing has played a big part in Oxford’s May Morning celebrations for many years.
Picture 1 shows dancers in action in Broad Street in 1968, watched by a huge crowd, who had earlier assembled at Magdalen Bridge to hear the choir sing from the top of the tower at 6am.
In Picture 2, musicians are hard at work providing backing for the morris dancers in 1961.
Dressing up, of course, is part and parcel of May Morning. Pictures 3 and 4 show girls with natty headgear at Magdalen Bridge in 1968 and 1969 respectively.
For centuries, the Magdalen College choristers have greeted the dawn as well as spring, singing Hymnus Eucharisticus, the Latin psalm composed by a Fellow of Magdalen in the 17th century, from the top of the 144ft college tower, followed by the ringing of the college bells.
That is the trigger for the huge crowd to spread out and enjoy music, dancing, theatre, singing and general merriment in the city streets. After a couple of hours of revelry, the roads are reopened and the bustling city returns to normal for another year.
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