Saturday, May 1, 2010
Remember The Maypole...?
Man, when I was a kid back in the dark ages...May Day was a day of dancing around the May Pole!
I can still remember the big ol' pole, all decorated with the streamers of different colors, the music playing loudly as we kids danced in a circle...half in one direction, half in the opposite!
Round and round we went, keeping time to the music and weaving around one another until that tall, brightly decorated pole was wound up tightly with the crepe paper streamers!
I never thought much about why we were doing that dance, only that we were happy to get out of class for the day! Well, after finding this history, now I know what it was all about. Thought you might find this interesting!
Ancient spring rites that related human fertility to crop fertility gave birth to most modern May Day festivities.
May 1 is the traditional day to crown the May queen, dance around the maypole, perform mummers' plays, and generally celebrate the return of spring.
Although our Pilgrim fathers were horrified by these reminders of a pagan past and outlawed all such activities, the maypole dance remains an enduring event.
In Great Britain, the custom of "bringing in the May" involves gathering "knots," or branches with buds, on the eve or early morning of May 1. In England, a favorite branch is hawthorn. In Scotland and Wales, people choose the rowan, or mountain ash. In North America, we often select forsythia, lilac, or pussy willow branches to bring spring and the prospect of new life into our homes.
Well, that's certainly more information than I ever wanted to know about the first day of May! I would be happy just remembering the good times that we had! Childhood memories are much more fun when they aren't cluttered up with all this history stuff, don't ya think?
Now, my friends, why don't we celebrate by having some fresh coffee on the patio? Maybe you can help me remember what the music we used to dance around the Maypole!