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Cat on the stairs |Publications| Cornwall  

A short introduction to the sometimes emotive and divisive subject of revived folk traditions.

The first part of this book serves to open discussion on the concepts of tradition and folk-revival, as they are conventionally understood and within the context of contemporary British society.


The author considers the multiplicity of understanding surrounding the terms, the background to revival and why revived traditions have received some of the criticism they have.

The second section of the book examines contemporary revived- folk traditions through an ethnographic lens, using the revived Cornish May festival ‘The St German’s May Tree Fair’ as a case study and includes further examples from the authors field research into Cornish folk culture.


The historical, cultural and social context of the revived-traditions are examined and how they fit into the frameworks of folk-revival and traditional culture.

The book questions the dichotomy of the traditional/revived framework for these types of community-led events and considers a more blended approach in which we may view them as well as looking at their value within contemporary culture

book cover: reviving traditions, St Germans May Tree Fair

The revival of Tradition: St Germans May Tree Fair (2019)

Helen E Manley 

second edition now available 

“The early revivalist assumed that there was an inherent value imbued in age of origin and this propagated the notion that authenticity required an identifiable history. However, from an ethnomusicology perspective, traditional culture’s connection to the past is slightly more nuanced; it is not looking back but carrying forward9. This is a subtle but significant difference and enables revived culture to move closer to the values of tradition, events can gain autonomy as they are repeated year upon year. There is a collective renegotiation of the meanings of cultural symbols by those who take part”

Read more about revival and tradition: Moving forward whilst looking back 

Read more about the journey of a folk song: Little Eyes 

Read more about May Day Traditions in Cornwall: May Day Traditions and songs in Cornwall in the Nineteenth Century 

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