Marvellous May has Landed, bringing with it Knutsford’s Royal May Day and its glorious traditions and dare I say it … SUN!! (just wait until tomorrow, I’ll have jinxed us all!!)
The first May Day took place on Monday 2nd May 1864 and in 1887, the word ‘Royal’ was bestowed upon the event by King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra, the then Prince and Princess of Wales. Since then every first Saturday of May the community have celebrated in the streets, decorated the town and sanded the streets to celebrate the Royal May Queen!
‘Sanding the streets’ was an old wedding custom in Knutsford long before the May Day started and is known to date back to 1017. It is said to have evolved in Knutsford after King Canute led his army through Knutsford on his way to fight the Scots and the Prince of Cumberland.
Canute apparently sat down after he had crossed the small river that runs through the back of town to shake sand from his shoe. As he did this a wedding party passed him, to which he shook the sand in front of them and wished them great joy and as many children as there were grains of sand.
Nowadays people write mottoes and arabesques in bright coloured sands to decorate the pavements and wish the Royal May Queen luck!
We think the wedding tradition should make a return,… who’s up for a trip to T.H.E River!!