|Flora-day at Helston - by Rod Allday [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons|
"Of all the counties of England which possess certain definite and peculiar characteristics which distinguish them from the rest, there is none, perhaps, so strikingly marked in this way as the far-away county of Cornwall. So remote is it from the great centres of civilisation and commerce, stretching itself away from the rest of England, and reaching out into the vast Atlantic, as though it would shake hands with the land of the “Stars and Stripes”—living upon its own resources, self-satisfied and self-contained—it goes on in its quiet, sober, sleepy way, disturbed only by a general election or some great religious awakening.
Is it any wonder that superstitions linger long and find it hard to die in this land of pixies, pasties, and pilchards? And is it surprising that strange customs which have come down through the ages, clinging from generation to generation with strong tenacity, should still obtain among the people in spite of the advent of the railway and the board- school? Every parish holds on to its “feast,” and every town boasts of its “fair,” while each village and hamlet has a special feature or function of its very own.
Helstone—dreamy, picturesque Helstone — has its “Flora-day,” when its inhabitants turn out en masse, and to the lively stains of a brass band dance through the streets from one end of the town to the other..." [cont.]