So I've grabbed my tassels and streamers and I'm ready for the pole dance. The May pole, that is.
When Christianity took over, Beltane, like many other pre-Christian festivals, became re-branded as a Christian celebration. In this instance Beltane became May Day - Mary's Day. Added to the fun was traditional English morris dancing, fetes and craft stalls.There were often visits to wells, which were sacred and connected to many saints, including Saint Modwen (read about her in Gulfyrian). In modern times there are often parades and home-made maypoles and the dance around the main Maypole that left an intricate weaved pattern of ribbons. In some places festivities include well-dressings. A May queen is chosen to symbolise purity and youth and she starts the celebrations.
And like all good traditional festivals, Oliver Cromwell banned May Day when England was in its brief state of being a republic. Not that anyone took any notice of that. In the twentieth century May Day became associated with labourers and was declared a bank holiday in many countries to honour the workers.
But whatever the reason, I enjoy the celebrations especially as there involves a holiday in England. This year I have my own Maypole to dance around, too. I'm wishing for a good summer with lots of flowers, apples, tomatoes and peas. And tassels and streamers.