Regrettably, Oxford’s 2020 May Morning has been cancelled in line with Government advice on mass gatherings during the coronavirus crisis.
In line with Government coronavirus advice on mass gatherings, Oxford City Council and Magdalen College have regrettably had to take the decision to cancel preparations for this year’s May Morning Event.
Without knowing what the situation will be in May, the emergency services who normally support the event need to be available for priority duties relating to coronavirus. The preparation times for the event mean decisions about the commitment of money and resources need to be made now.
Given the uncertainty ahead, Oxford City Council and Magdalen College have decided that it is prudent to cancel the event, which will also mean the resources can be used elsewhere if needed.
The city’s May Morning celebrations, which mark the coming of spring, have taken place for over 500 years.
Crowds of thousands, including students and Oxford residents alike, usually gather along High Street and Magdalen Bridge at 6.00am on 01 May to watch choristers sing the Hymnus Eucharisticus from the top of Magdalen College’s Great Tower.
Hymnus Eucharisticus was composed in the 17th century by Benjamin Rogers, choirmaster and a Fellow of Magdalen College, and has been sung every year on May Morning ever since. There are also prayers for the city led by the Dean of Divinity.
This is followed by the Great Tower’s bells ringing out over the city for approximately 20 minutes. Afterwards, events and activities, including Morris Dancing and folk singing, take place across the city.