May Morning plans for online only-event announced

Published: Tuesday, 23rd March 2021

Oxford’s traditional May Morning ceremony will be celebrated online again this year, due to pandemic restrictions.

By May 1 it is expected that some lockdown restrictions will have eased, but outdoor gatherings of more than six people, or two households, will remain illegal. There will be no event at Magdalen Tower this year, and residents and students are being asked to enjoy the celebrations at home.

Following last year’s success of the online event, which has been viewed over 66,000 times on Youtube, the City Council and Magdalen College are encouraging people to get involved using #MayMorning.

Singing in the season

#MayMorning will begin online just before 6am and will be opened by the Choir of Magdalen College welcoming in spring with Hymnus Eucharisticus and some traditional madrigals for May Morning. This will be in an exciting new format to last year.

The Choir’s May Morning pre-recorded performance will begin just before 6am on air on their Facebook page with an introduction by the President of Magdalen.

Thames Valley Police will continue its regular patrols of the city centre and parks to ensure the rules are being upheld.

“While we’re still under restrictions due to the risks of covid the traditional celebrations at Magdalen tower won’t take place, but we can all watch online in better comfort than normal. May morning is an Oxford tradition that has survived wars and disease before, and the online event last year gave a new perspective – and better audio – to the age old tradition. Please remember the rules on group gatherings and enjoy a safe and happy May Morning."

Councillor Mary Clarkson, Cabinet Member for Culture and the City Centre

“We will once again rise to the challenge of the pandemic. We are delighted to bring the people of Oxford, and the wider community, the ancient tradition of May Morning via the medium of the web.”

Mark Blandford-Baker, Bursar for Magdalen College