Abbotsbury Garland Day

Where: Formerly Abbotsbury, Dorset - village centre and churchyard
When: Formerly 13th May
Time: Formerly Late afternoon


The old May Garland ceremony was until recently a survivor from days of yore – many fishing villages used to celebrate the abundance of the season by making similar floral tributes and at Abbotsbury the tradition was alive and well into the 21st century. The local children carried their beautiful¬† flower and greenery covered garlands around the village collecting for charity before they placed them at the War Memorial in the churchyard. In the past the garlands used to be cast into the sea. As the number of children in the village has dwindled, the custom has slowly lapsed, though there is hope that one day it will be revived (perhaps if SATS didn’t take place around the same time more families would get involved!). You may still find a garland on display at Strangways Hall in the village but there is currently no perambulation or display at the War Memorial.

Helpful Hints

It was always held on the 13th (not on the nearest weekend as it sometimes reported). There’s a distinct possibility that this will be revived as and when circumstances allow (it’s a much loved tradition in the village) so if you hear anything about it starting up again please let me know!

It was a village affair rather than a public event so there were no large crowds! Be aware that as it was a small childrens event in a small community, while individuals were welcome to accompany the group for a little way, the organisers were understandably wary of encouraging too many visitors which would have altered the character of the event.

After the closure of the village school, the ceremony took place after the children returned from schools further afield- in the good old days they used to get a special day off! Exact starting times were advertised locally the week before.

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