Dancing round the Maypole

Mayday has been a  holiday in Britain since 1978 when it was introduced as a bank holiday and celebration of the workers of this country; however, Mayday had been celebrated  for many hundreds of years before then. It may have started as a spring or early summer festival going back thousands of years and involves the crowing of a May Queen and dancing round a Maypole, the symbolism of which is pretty obvious. There are many other local rituals and traditions, for example Morris men, dancing, fairs and celebrations.

I attended Milton Road Junior School in Cambridge and I was crowned May Queen, in a wonderful pageant I shall describe later.In May Day this year, 2012 I attended Eel Day Fair in the city of Ely in Cambridgeshire and watched some young people performing traditional Maypole dancing with great skill!

Sorting out the ribbons
The children get ready to dance
The Maypole Dance
The children dance in pairs to make a different pattern with their ribbons round the pole
A simple pattern called the Barber’s Pole
This pattern achieved by the dance, is called the Single Plait
This is the Double Plait

It is marvellous that this tradition is still kept alive, part of our heritage!


    1. Lois

      I visited Washington State many many years ago and I think I may have been to Leavenworth – how amazing you should mention it and bring back that memory! How interesting that there should be the Maypole tradition there too! Thanks, Barbro!


  1. loonyliterature

    Your post has brought back memories of my school days. We always celebrated with a Maypole and dancing. When I think of it, I do feel a little spring in my step when May arrives so really we should celebrate it. Great post.


  2. Lois

    Reblogged this on Lois Elsden and commented:

    This post is now complete with all the photos restored! If there were no pictures last time you looked, try again now and see some wonderful young people carrying on a very old tradition.


  3. Alice

    When I was a youngster, a teacher thought we should give that a try. Let me tell you, our results looked nothing like the lovely weaving in your pictures. We bumped heads and giggled a lot tho.


    1. Lois

      I’m sure you had terrific fun! The youngsters here had to rehearse a lot and worked really hard… they had a dynamic teacher and so really enjoyed doing it! it was just a shame it was a cold grey day.


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