Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The May Pole

May Day is traditionally a day of great merry-making - the most well-known celebration being dancing around the maypole. The ribbon-plaiting dance we know today only began in the 19th century. Before that people used to dance in a ring around a large pole.

Another custom was for young men and women to go out on May Day Eve to collect may (hawthorn) blossom, flowers and blackthorn blossom. A young girl was elected Queen of the May and she presided over the May Day celebrations, which included mumming, morris and molly dances. Gingerbread was traditionally eaten on this day.

In Padstow in Cornwall two hobby horses dance through the streets. The Padstow May Carol is sung to welcome the summer.

The fair maid who, the first of May
Goes to the fields at break of day,
And washes in dew from the hawthorn tree,
Will ever after handsome be.

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About Me

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I grew up in Chautauqua County, NY. I graduated from Edinboro University of Pennyslvania in 1981 with a BFA in Jewelry and Metalworking. I have been married 31 years. I currently run a small business with my husband. We both enjoy the outdoors and animals a great deal and live on a tiny farm in Western, NY.