Maypole Celebrations 1910
May Day is a celebration of spring, rejuvenation, fertility and life—and traditionally, a day to dance and weave the Maypole, who's symbolism has been continuously debated by folklorists for centuries, although no set conclusion has ever been arrived at. Some classify maypoles as symbols of the world axis. The anthropologist Mircea Eliade suggests that the maypoles were simply a part of the general rejoicing at the return of summer, and the growth of new vegetation. In this way, they have similarities with the May Day garlands which were also a common festival practice in the United Kingdom mid-14th century. The practice had become increasingly popular in the UK throughout the ensuing centuries, with the maypoles becoming symbols that brought the local community together.
A FANTASTIC 1920's example, May Day flapper girls!!
Peggy Clark as a land girl May Queen, Bedfordshire, 1944
Little May Queen wearing flowers in her hairs, early 1900's
There's even an official flower for the occasion, the May Blossom which is suitable pink and girly for use in the headdresses, but also a cheery sign of a hopeful summer!
There are also tradition for complex dances to be preformed, such as the May Queen dancing troupes, who include complicated weaves and unweaves, but they are not well known today. However, such dances are performed every Mayday around the permanent Maypole at Offenham, in Worcestershire. Temporary Maypoles are usually erected on village greens and events are often supervised by local Morris dancing groups. Could there be a better symbol of eccentric British folk traditions than the Morris dancers?
There's countless folk traditions and village fetes celebrating this weekend, why not go to one of your local shows? Morris Dancing in the rain sounds very jolly! :)
Hope you have a good May Day!