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Tuesday, June 28, 2022

How to survive May Day

Elena Buccisano provides a guide to May Day for the uninitiated.

With the start of a new term, I’d be amazed if you hadn’t yet heard the words ‘May Day’ mentioned or even been asked the question ‘What are you doing for May Day?’. There certainly seems to be a buzz in the air surrounding this year’s celebrations, perhaps because they’ve been cancelled for the last two years. For current freshers and second years, this will be their first ‘normal’ May Day – yet another anticipated Oxford tradition to conquer and potentially, the ultimate test of endurance. For finalists, this year’s May Day celebrations mark one of the last opportunities to really let loose with friends in true Oxford fashion before exams beckon.

But there are also those who don’t see the appeal of May Day and question the point of staying up all night and most likely writing off the next day with a terrible hangover. My friend even said to me, ‘if it’s an enjoyable night, you shouldn’t last until 6am’. Nonetheless, for those May Day enthusiasts who are excitedly making plans and are, like me, guaranteeing their friends that they will make it to Magdalen Bridge at 6am, it’s worth planning ahead and brushing up on those drinking endurance skills.

For this year’s celebrations options abound. Both the O2 Academy and The Bullingdon are holding events until 6am, promising the biggest night out this term. Bridge and Atik are also hosting their regular nights with a late last entry and a 3am closing time. You may be lucky enough to have a ball ticket, with both the LMH and the Somerville-Jesus Ball hosting students until the early hours of the morning. If clubbing isn’t your thing, rumour has it that some pubs might have late closing times, and Oxford’s classic kebab vans will be there all night for when your stomach needs some extra lining to carry on.

Since we are a bit out of practice with May Day it could be worth taking some extra measures. If you intend on making it through the night without chunning on the side of Cowley Road, consider pacing yourself and spreading those tequila shots out throughout the night, but if that was exactly your plan then by all means go ahead! Another crucial mantra for a night out that I live by is food, food, food. Don’t be afraid of that extra portion in hall or the mid-night Solomons, especially if you want to embark on a drinking endurance test which sees you into May Morning.

Whatever happens and even if you don’t make it to hear the choir sing, at least you know that you were part of a bigger celebration – one which, in light of the Covid cancellations, feels much needed.

Photographs by Wang Sum Luk

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