Description of May Pole Dancing
May Pole dancing featured the young girls perform circle dances around a tall pole, painted in stripes, which was decorated with garlands of flowers and other emblems. The youngest girls danced in the inner circle whilst the older girls danced in the outer circle. The girls each held a ribbon which was attached to the May Pole. May Pole Dancing involved circular steps during which the ribbons were intertwined and plaited. The May pole dancers would then unravel the ribbon by retracing their steps.
May Pole Dancing - The May Pole
The cutting of a great tree and bringing it to a village to use as a May Pole was a great event in Medieval village life. Great care was taken in choosing the tree, and neighbouring villages often competed with each other to have the tallest May Pole. The bark of the tree was removed, or smoothed, and decorated with garlands of flowers and brightly colored ribbons to prepare the May Pole. The May Pole was then erected in the centre of the Village Green. This ritual was repeated in villages every year, however some of the May Poles which were erected in towns were permanent and only fresh flowers and ribbons were added for the May festivities.
The Origin and History of May Pole dancing
The origin of May Pole dancing dates back to the Pagan times, and the Maypole was basically a phallic symbol. Trees have always been the symbol of the great vitality and fertility of nature. May Pole dancing was therefore strongly associated with fertility. Traditionally May Pole Dancing was performed by the young girls from the Medieval villages as part of the May time celebrations. The History of the Maypole and May Pole dancing was connected with both the Druids, Wiccans and the Romans. May 1 was an important date for the Druids as this was when the festival of Beltane held. Beltane marked the beginning of the pastoral summer season and was celebrated by lighting fires. Wiccans celebrated by dancing round a Maypole and choosing a May Queen. Then the Romans came to occupy the British Isles. The beginning of May was also an important feast time for the Romans which was devoted primarily to the worship of Flora, the goddess of flowers when the Festival of Floralia was held. Over time the traditions and rituals of the Floralia were added to those of the Beltane culminating in May Pole dancing, which is still carried out to this day.
Good day, M' Lady Esobella. Sit a spell with me and help me weave the flowers for the hair of the Ladies dancing the May Pole this weekend. You always do such a beautiful job.
Good day. Ocean. 'Tis nice of thee to stop by to check on how things are coming along for the celebration. We still have much to do, I am sure that the menfolk could use your help. They have gone off to the grove to find a suitable tree for the May Pole.
Come join me in a song for the season!
Gather you close for words of Lord Tennyson, purveyor of pretty poems!
You must wake and call me early, call me early, mother dear; tomorrow'ill be the happiest time of all the glad New-year; of all the glad New-year, mother, the maddest merriest day; For I'm to be Queen o'the May, mother, I'm to be Queen o'the May.
As I came up the valley whom think ye should I see, But Robin leaning on the bridge beneath the hazel-tree? He thought of that sharp look, mother, I gave him yesterday - but I'm to be Queen o'the May, mother, I'm to be Queen o'the May.
He thought I was a ghost, mother, for I was all in white, and I ran by him without speaking, like a flash of light. They call me cruel-hearted, but I care not what they say, for I'm to be Queen o'the May, mother, I'm to be Queen o'the May.
They say he's dying all for love, but that can never be; they say his heart is breaking, mother - what is that to me? There's many a bolder lad'ill woo me any summer day, and I'm to be Queen o'the May, mother, I'm to be Queen o'the May.
So you must wake and call me early, call me early, mother dear, tomorrow'ill be the happiest time of all the glad New-year; tomorrow'ill be of all the year the maddest merriest day, for I'm to be Queen of the May, mother, I'm to be Queen o'the May.
This may not be specifically for Beltane but it is a beautiful tune to listen to while thinking of all of our blessings at this time of year.