Thursday, April 30, 2009


RABBIT RABBIT
GOOD LUCK IN MAY
Happy May Day!

May Pole

The most well-known symbol of May Day is the maypole. They go back to the pagan custom in which trees (birch or fir normally) were brought into the village square through a solemn parade. Later, in the 16th and 17th centuries many towns in England erected permanent poles that were left to stand for the rest of the year and decorated only on May Day. The shaft was often painted with stripes and the flower doll was fastened on the top. A tuft of greenery of some sort was left on the end of the pole as a reminder that it was a symbol of the newly awakened spirit of fertility and vegetation.




Colorful ribbons (or streamers) were then hung from the pole and people would dance around it holding the ends of the streamers in such a way that they were woven into a pattern as the dancers progressed. Today the Maypole dance is often performed by traditional English Morris dancers (not just common folks) who wear hats decorated with ribbons and flowers and streamers on their wrists and elbows. They also have bells strapped to their calves, hold white handkerchiefs and clack wooden sticks. The bells and sticks in pagan times were used to frighten evil spirits and the dancers high leaps were believed to encourage the crops to grow tall.


I have always loved the May pole dance, although I can't remember ever really participating in one.

26 comments:

TLP said...

Rabbit rabbit.

I like the idea of a May Pole, but I've never actually seen one being used.

Siobhán said...

And I had forgotten about the May Pole dance Terry - thanks for reminding me.

Tom & Icy said...

Rabbit rabbit. I don't remember playing May Pole either.

Nessa said...

Rabbit, rabbit. I love your first picture. So cute.

Doug said...

It is fine in theory, isn't it? Rabbit rabbit.

Anonymous said...

dancing with thoughts of a positive
future,around the may pole sounds fine to me
? the pole , phallic symbol ?
or one could practice,mayday,mayday
as the tanks and missiles roll by
i for one would rather dance..XOXO
rabbit rabbit

laughingwolf said...

love it all, thx terry :)

G-Man said...

Greetings Oh Queen of the Lens!!!
Got a job yet?
Also, in your profile, you have been 52 for 3 years now!!!
I wanna stop aging too...:P

javajazz said...

Rabbi Rabbi, bubby...
how's tricks?
happy Mayday too, even.

G said...

Rabbit, rabbit! I've come to dance around the maypole with you!

Ariel the Thief said...

There's something in Maypoles, you can make them of anything, make them colourful with ribbons, and they will be happy as long as there's wind. I love them.

The first picture is just too funny! In your own garden? Or somewhere in family?

Rabbit rabbit!

Mo'a said...

Now if I were not a day late I would say Rabbit, rabbit, rabbit in honor of your first photo.
I adore Maypoles and have seen many Maypole Dances...and Morris Dancers.
We used to be members of the Country Dance and Song Society. We danced the traditional line dances...that one can see versions of on the Tudors.
That was before my knees went...now that I am a Bionic Woman perhaps it is time to dance again :)

actonbell said...

Rabbit, rabbit! I agree maypole are mighty interesting and appealing, but I've never had the pleasure, either. Hmmmmm....

DJ Kirkby said...

Oooh I write about May Pole dancing over on my Zaftig to Aspie blog. Nice memories.

yellowdog granny said...

Ohhhh, when I was a kid, 4th grade maybe..I lived in Hawaii, lived on Hickam AFB, with my parents..our school did the May Pole dance every year...had dozens of poles with streamers and we couldn't wait for May 1st...it was sooo much fun...
I have since replaced it with out door screwing.

lime said...

nice write up on the tradition. i think the dancing is impressive how they coordinate it all to weave the streamers.

thanks for your kind wishes at my place. wishing you the best in the job search as well.

EcoRover said...

Heard about the Maypole from a Swedish grandfather of a friend, sounded pretty bawdy in the old days! There was also a poem that began, "Hooray, hooray, it's the first of May,..." (he rest can't be repeated here).

Fred said...

Rabbit, rabbit! And, thanks for the information on the maypole.

cinco de gato said...

omg. i cracked up with that first photo. i would love to do something like that next year.

when i was growing up, on mayday we'd make baskets at school...by weaving strips of construction paper. and then in the basket, we'd put paper flowers...made from construction paper....and sometimes crepe paper.

the idea was to place them on the door step (of a woman who was important to us), ring the bell, and run.

i was disappointed when it came to be my turn...turns out they stopped doing that long before my own kids got old enough to use scissors.

the walking man said...

I have been looking but I still don't see the maypole connection to the Beltane blessing of the garden.

JoeinVegas said...

It sounds like a fun thing to do

Ranger Tom said...

Thanks for this post!

I've always wondered where the tradition had originated... Now I know!

jillie said...

I remember making May Day baskets and hanging them on someone's door. People just don't do that stuff anymore.

Happy May Day...a few days late

photowannabe said...

I remember doing a Maypole dance in the 1st through 3rd grade. Fun but a bit wierd for us little kids without any practice. We just weaved in and out until one of the bratty boys would get tired of the whole thing and mess up.

javajazz said...

happy mama day...! xo

Scott said...

It is true that the maypole was a symbol of fertility. But it's my understanding that it originated in the era of phallic-worship, thus was representative of the penis. Still, this does not necessarily contradict your explanation of it.