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In Pictures: Morris dancers kick off May Day celebrations

The first day of May has been marked across the UK with Morris dancing, singing of madrigals and student celebrations.

The Thieving Magpie Morris side during their Dance in the Dawn to mark May Day, or Beltane on Castle Hill in Huddersfield (PA)
The Thieving Magpie Morris side during their Dance in the Dawn to mark May Day, or Beltane on Castle Hill in Huddersfield (PA)

May Day celebrations across the UK have kicked off with Morris dancing, the singing of madrigals, maypoles and dips in the sea.

The traditional spring festival, also known as Beltane in Gaelic history, has its routes in ancient pagan festivals.

In Huddersfield, the raggedly dressed Thieving Magpie Morris Side did their Dance In The Dawn to mark Beltane.

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(Danny Lawson/PA)
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(Danny Lawson/PA)

Then the White Rose Morris Men waved handkerchiefs and sticks, with each Morris side having its own routines passed down over centuries.

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(Danny Lawson/PA)
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(Danny Lawson/PA)
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(Danny Lawson/PA)

In Birmingham, the Glorishears of Brummagem danced at sunrise on Barr Beacon.

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(Aaron Chown/PA)
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(Aaron Chown/PA)
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(Aaron Chown/PA)
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(Aaron Chown/PA)
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(Aaron Chown/PA)

In Oxford, several Morris dancing sides entertained students and tourists alike.

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(Steve Parsons/PA)
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(Steve Parsons/PA)
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(Steve Parsons/PA)
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(Steve Parsons/PA)
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(Steve Parsons/PA)
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(Steve Parsons/PA)

While in past years, Oxford students have made a big event of jumping off Magdalen Bridge into the River Isis below, this year it was boarded up and they mostly stayed on dry land listening to the singing of madrigals from the tower of Magdalen College.

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(Steve Parsons/PA)
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(Steve Parsons/PA)
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(Steve Parsons/PA)
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(Steve Parsons/PA)

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