When I was a kid, in the 50's, we still danced around the Maypole as an activity at school. The flagpole was converted into this wonder filled tangle of bright colored ribbons. Each year a class was chosen to do the Maypole dance. Oddly (wink, wink) it was an older class that would be chosen, learn the weaving dance and then perform for the rest of the school.
The year my class was chosen, I was so excited because we got to wear circlets of flowers, made by our Mom's, on our heads (mine were milinary white daisies with fuzzy yellow centers which I kept until they fell apart), and dance the very confusing and fun weaving dance. I can still hear the flute music and the giggling in my memory.
The next year, no more Maypole dancing because it was un American do to so. It was celebrated in the Communist block and so any good American would not participate in such a thing. I guess eating Borscht coulda gotten someone in trouble too. Poor Senator McCarthy had a hard on for communist sympathizers and I guess elementary school kids could be influenced by that giant phallic symbol to want to grow up to be...........anarchists.....nah we skipped all that and went right to being hippies...ha, ha on you Joe. In the 50's unAmerican, in the late 60's flower power....odd the transition.
I thought I had seen the last May Day dance I would ever see until 2004. I was fortunate enough to be part of a group of Homeschoolers who gave the homeschooling community a Beltane to remember. There were 25 or so kids all under the age of 12, going under and over each others ribbons to a person playing the flute.....flash backs. GK and her group of cutie pies were in the thick of it. albeit messing up every older kids over and under rhythm, they had a wonderful time. The adults made balancing butterflys (shall share with you closer to midsummer), May baskets, face painted on the kids, helped kids make fairy cookies and there was a marvelous maze to walk. A great Beltane, May Day experience.... even if the maypole did suffer a collapse.
This year, we don't have a maypole but instead have hung bright colored ribbons from a flagpole out front, have already (pre dawn) delivered our May baskets to our neighbors and friends, will go to the park and enjoy the sunshine and nature, go to a Presbyterian church that has a walking meditation maze and do that and come home and see if it is going to snow again this afternoon. Then we will have a fire in our outside pit tonight.
It was believed by the rural peoples long ago that passing their flocks, herds and themselves between two bonfires would protect them from all harm. So to do a bit of history reinactment and give the grands an opportunity to join with the elders, ancestors, our predecessors, we too will pass by the fire and take the blessing of the protection.
Keep in mind, all things change with time, but the remembering and reenactment of events, rituals, celebrations give us, in our own time, the opportunity to see life in many different ways. That is what experiencing an open mind is all about. You don't have to believe it, but the immersing yourself in it can make you a more hands on, informed human, thereby giving your character more depth and knowledge.
Life is a lesson ready to be enjoyed and embraced everyday. Ain't we the lucky ones?
Beltane Blessings and Happy May Day to all of you, my lovelies.
psssst....my hand is killing me but it was worth it