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May you dance, sing, ride and be merry.

By Maria Gregoriou

Many countries around the world raise a wooden pole in May and dance around it (well, not always) to welcome the month and have a bit of a festival. And Cyprus is no exception as St Paul's Anglican Cathedral in Nicosia is making sure that we all have a chance to celebrate the month -- as it does every year.

Traditionally these celebrations are a chance to celebrate the end of winter and the beginning of warmer weather and the approach of summer, but what may not be widely known is that May Day revels have existed from very early times and may be as old as the Autumn Harvest Festival. Youths and maidens went 'a-maying' on May Day Eve into the woods and did not return until dawn on May Day carrying garlands of flowers, branches of hawthorn or blackthorn and usually a birch or pine trunk stripped of its branches -- which was to become the village maypole.

So what can one expect from the celebrations? The May Fayre will bring together music and dancing, games and attractions for the whole family, as well as English tea and cakes, and -- as a reflection of St Paul's international congregation -- a tasty selection of chilli, curries and spring rolls will be on offer in addition to the traditional hot dogs and hamburgers.

The fayre will be officially opened at 4pm by the Bishop in Cyprus and the Gulf, Bishop Michael Lewis and the Cyprus Police Band will then kick off proceedings with a lively selection of tunes. This will be followed by performances from the London School of Ballet, and songs and dances from the Falcon School and the Junior & Senior School choir. The Junior School Cheerleaders will once again be giving an energetic and colourful display and the second Nicosia Brownies will be putting in an appearance with a special performance.

Children will have the chance to climb aboard a fire engine or into a police patrol car. Numerous children's games and side-shows are planned including face-painting, and a bouncy castle, not to mention a plant stall (run by the renowned gardening expert Alexander McCowan), bottle stall, books, white elephant, clothes stalls, and homemade cakes and preserves. And of course everyone will have the opportunity to win one of the many great prizes in a Grand Draw (first prize a return air ticket to the UK!).

This year's event will take place in

the Cathedral gardens tomorrow from 4pm until 7pm. But the event isn't just about having fun, it is also the Cathedral's major fund-raising happening of the year. The funds collected are not only used to maintain the building but more importantly, they are used to support the work the Cathedral does within the local community.

Each year ten per cent of the proceeds are donated to a local charity and this year this amount will go towards supporting the Nicosia Mercy Centre, a charity formed in 2009 and located in the heart of old Nicosia whose aim is to reach out to people in need by providing food, clothes and a loving atmosphere.

St Paul's May Fayre

Performances, games for children and lots more. May 16. 4pm-7pm. Tel: 22-445221 or 99-609543

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Publication:Cyprus Mail (Cyprus)
Geographic Code:4EXCY
Date:May 15, 2015
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