I can’t stand the May Day celebrations

Spare a thought for the people still trying to sleep

It’s 6am on a serene Sunday morning. The world is silent. Everyone is calm, peacefully asleep snuggled up in their warm, cosy beds. Or so I thought.


I’m woken from my slumber in a dreamy daze, by a sound which I can only describe as the harkening of an imminent apocalypse. A choir of angels erupt into song, shouting out a harsh harmony. The operatic, religious voices blare out all around, there doesn’t seem to be a single source of the noise.

It’s much more peaceful when there’s nobody singing

Is this God’s way of revealing himself to me? Did I die overnight, and this is my welcome into the afterlife? No this wasn’t divine intervention. No I hadn’t died.

This was the sound of May Day.

By now I’m rather used to the sound of the city in the early morning. Every week or so a rubbish truck empties bins from the hotel adjacent to me at simply ridiculous hours of the morning, creating a sound which could be mistaken for the explosion of an atomic bomb. But whereas collecting rubbish can be seen as a necessary element of society, this May Day celebrations seem totally overblown and unnecessary.

At 6am, some religious hymn was blasted out of speakers at an unreasonably loud volume. It sounded like a church choir were singing with no restraint directly outside my door. This was then followed at 6:07 by preaching and blessings. At 6:18, all went silent. I thought it was over. Thought I had survived the onslaught.

No I hadn’t. At 6:25, bells rang out an annoyingly joyful tune which continued incessantly for a whole twenty minutes.

All in all, these celebrations forcibly removed an hour of sleep from me, a commodity I have precious little of in my student life.

Keep the noise down

You may have me pegged down as a grumpy, unsocial miser by now. Why are you making such a big fuss over a celebration, an event enjoyed by many outgoing, early-morning people? I think the religious element played a part here. If it was just the noise of a crowd for a short time, I would have been less annoyed. Twenty minutes of bells I could have put up with. It was the proselytising and preaching that really tipped me over the edge.

I don’t want to be preached to about Jesus or any religious figure at the best of times, let alone at 6am when I’d really rather be sleeping. I know some people place value on Christianity, and I respect their personal right to practice it. To me however, religious teachings are at best meaningless and I found it irritating and obnoxious that I was forcibly awoken by something I consider garbage. Nobody likes propaganda you don’t agree with, especially when it’s inconsiderately thrusted upon you at the crack of dawn.

If any other organisation had decided to blare out their associated noise at 6am, everyone would be up in arms. Besides, it’s strictly illegal to make that much noise before 7am. Since however, it’s traditional to celebrate May Day in Oxford at 6am, it’s totally acceptable to startle the sleeping, non-Christian heathens.

But fear not anyone who is an advocate for the Oxford May Day celebrations, I’m not going to waste my time campaigning against it. It’s almost impossible to stop an event whose only justification is tradition. Tradition will prevail against any and all of my arguments against the celebrations.

So all I can really say is next year, when we all go through this ordeal again, perhaps spare a thought for the people, like myself, you will be disturbing from a good night’s sleep.