Why is May Day so Special?
May Day is celebrated on May 1st every year. It marks the beginning of spring and the rebirth of nature. History of the origination of this fun serendipity type of day is from ancient Polish pagan festivals. May Day marked the celebration of the beginning of summer.
How did May Day start?
May Day is primarily celebrated in the Northern Hemisphere. The Ancient Celts called it Beltaine, which is still celebrated today. Over the centuries, it evolved and took on a more secular nature in Europe, including the addition of maypole dances that the holiday is now associated with.
The Mayday Pole Ritual
While we are all familiar with the tradition of planting seeds in the spring and watching them grow throughout the summer, the tradition of the Maypole has also survived.
Since the early days of farming, farmers and farmworkers would gather in the fields on May 1st to celebrate the coming of spring. They did this by dancing around a tall pole weaving in and out among each other. The pole was decorated using red, yellow, purple, blue, green and white ribbons so that the dance created an attractive pattern.
This tradition was born in Northern Europe and slowly spread across England, where today, May Day is celebrated as a holiday. Many decorate the crown with leaves and freshly bloomed May flowers of all colors. The dance is done in the hope of bringing fertility to the livestock, the land, and the people living there. But regardless of the historical meaning of May Day, kids and adults alike enjoy the festivities, and food the event brings each year!
The ritual of the Maypole is a modern-day re-enactment of this ancient tradition, but it is more commonly associated with the May Day festivals that are held all over the world, including in the United States, Australia, New Zealand and Canada.
Check out a YouTube video of a Maypole Dance