May Day

May Day is on 1st May and it is an ancient pagan celebration of the seasonal warming of the weather, bringing on a period of fertility of crops and animals, and the blossoming of flowers. Communal festivities have traditionally included dancing round the maypole on the village green, Morris dancing and the crowning of the village’s May queen for the year.

It is marked today by a public holiday on the first Monday in May. As well as the dancing, there may also be funfairs or street processions of floats, fancy dress and the attendance of the local Mayor. Youth is a vital element of the May Day tradition and it is usually a teenage girl or young woman who is chosen to be the May queen. She wears a white gown for purity and her crown is adorned with flowers.

This video shows schoolchildren weaving and unweaving their ribbons round the maypole:-

(Top image: Colin Park at / CC BY-SA 2.0)

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