Queen of the May

By Jean McCarthy

My memory

A group of us children used to go around the local streets playing the Queen of the May. We were all dressed up in costume. There was the Queen,(with a long net curtain for a veil) the Princess, with a short Christening veil) the kiltie, (tartan kilt) the wicked Witch. I can’t recall the rest of the characters at the moment. We would form a circle and the Queen would begin skipping around inside the circle and all would sing “Nava nava my nava rone. She is the queen of no one shall know. Then the princess would take a turn. Sorry I can’t remember the song for the princess. The next song was “The Kiltie said he would marry her marry her” repeated. All the neighbours would give us coppers to buy sweets and lemonade. I am 74 but my sister who is 83 will probably remember more. I will post that just as soon as I can speak to her. I don’t think the tradition is still going in Northern Ireland these days.

When did this happen?

1940’s to 1950’s

Where did this happen?

Banbridge County Down Northern Ireland

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