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!

8 comments:

The cottage by the Cranelake said...

In Sweden we put up the may pole (so naturally we also call it Midsummers pole) at midsommers eve instead. There is a lot of kids getting born nine months later :-) :-)
Have a great day now!
Christer.

HermitJim said...

Hey Christer...
Sounds like there is a lot of celebrating going on at that time! Funny how that works, huh?

Thanks, my friend, for coming by today!

Mechanic in Illinois said...

Usually the Russians parade their tanks down Main St in Moscow so your posting on dancing is a welcome thought. Thanks for another great lesson.

HermitJim said...

Hey Mechanic...
Better to dance around the Maypole than to show off the military's new toys, isn't it?

Maybe there is a way to capture that feeling of joy and avoid the fear of war! Thank goodness it's not as prevalent as it once was!

Thanks for stopping by today, buddy!

SciFiChick said...

Thanks for a bit of MayDay history! I have an award for you over on my blog if you would care to stop by!
Have a wonderful day!

HermitJim said...

Hey SciFi...
Thanks for the award! Glad your garden is starting to produce and you're right in your post about it being a lot like Christmas in Spring when the goodies start showing!

I do appreciate the nod from you...and you dropping in today! have a good one!

Ted said...

http://www.thepeoplehistory.com/may1st.html

The Sprouting Acorn said...

When I was a kid, we'd make paper (construction paper) baskets w/handles and fill the basket up with flowers. We'd choose a neighbor (or several), hang the basket on their door, knock and quickly hide. We'd always be somewhere that we could see the individual open the door and find the flowers.
That was May Day spent in the early / mid 60s for me in Indiana… Simple pleasures. Where have they gone?