I Bring You A Branch Of May

Dancing around the May Pole is a tradition which celebrates the return of Spring. Typically the occasion includes dancers dressed in white, live musicians, garlands of flowers, ribbons on the May Pole, and a picnic meal.

A few weeks back Chitter and Chatter were invited to participate in a May Pole celebration at the John C. Campbell Folk School. Their days of practicing with the ribbons were beautiful with plenty of sunshine and with just a little wind to make the ribbons wave.

But, before the actual celebration could begin two major changes shook it all up. The first, Mother Nature decided to bless the celebration with a rain storm, after all it is spring. The second, Chitter decided to come down with strep throat and a 102 fever.

The remedy for the first was to move the May Pole in doors and…

…have a human May Pole hold the ribbons (probably a first for the record books).

The remedy for the second-I had to take Chitter’s place. I was so very nervous, but the folks had been so nice to invite Chitter and Chatter that I knew I couldn’t let them down.

In the end, Chatter and I had a fantastic time, the only thing that could have been better is if Chitter could have been there too. I hope you’ll leave a comment about May Pole traditions, or memories you may have experienced.

                        May Day Carol

A branch of May, my love. I say As at your door I stand; It’s nothing but a sprout, but it’s well budded out By the work of the Lord’s own hand. My song is done and I must be gone, I can no longer stay; God bless you all, both great and small And send you a joyful May.

Kentucky Version from the Ritchie Family of Perry County, KY


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  • Reply
    Stacy A
    May 12, 2008 at 1:02 am

    That looks like an absolute riot! I would have loved to see that. Every May Day my mom talks about dancing around the May pole. I know she holds those memories dear. We always just looked at her weird, but I think it is really because we were jealous! I hope everyone is feeling better. Love Stacy

  • Reply
    May 7, 2008 at 2:23 pm

    I really love this. I’m so glad to see the Maypole celebrations going on somewhere. I don’t think in recent memory anyone ever did my Maypole stuff out here in the Ozarks. There definitely were early summer celebrations, but not one quite so ancient. The maypole, I’m pretty sure, goes back into pagan Europe. That’s lots of fun to see it still going on.

  • Reply
    May 5, 2008 at 6:42 pm

    Duh, one more thing I forgot to comment about…..Your Guitar/Mandoline post….you need to check out my page so you can see my husbands guitaroline or mandatar whatever you want to call it. Ha, ha, ha, we’ve tried to be unique with the name, but he and a friend merged my mandoline with his guitar so that during gigs he wouldn’t have to put one down to pick up the other. It sounds great and gets alot of comment. I love the mandoline…..it makes me smile.

  • Reply
    May 5, 2008 at 6:35 pm

    I do have several experiences with the May Pole. Actually two that I remember well. Once in Elementary School when we were studying traditions, etc. and the second was when I was in ballet and we performed in our recital with the May Pole. I just remembering it being alot of fun and I loved the brightly colored ribbons. What a fun event! Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply
    May 5, 2008 at 2:26 pm

    I had no idea that these traditions were still practiced! How fun… I guess that may be the difference in growing up on the west coast – lack of heritage. Thanks for sharing – Hope that Chitter is feeling better soon.

  • Reply
    May 5, 2008 at 12:33 pm

    I don’t have a May pole memory to comment on but I did get married on May 1st and made May Baskets to hang on the pews for decoration. I then had several of the teenage girls take the baskets off afterwards and put them on the reception tables…double use! The “baskets” were paper doilies folded cone shape. I used colored chalk to lightly color the raised part of the doilies and folded over the outer border to make a ruffle. I filled them w/tiny silk flowers and hung them w/tiny silk ribbons. They turned out very nice…even if I do say so myself! I hope Chitter is feeling better!

  • Reply
    Jennifer in OR
    May 5, 2008 at 12:22 pm

    What fun, and you are such a sport to take your daughter’s place! We didn’t do anything for May Day, but I would have loved to be in your celebration – my kids would have enjoyed it so much.
    That’s a gorgeous photo of your daughter! Blessings for good health for Chitter and the the rest of the family.

  • Reply
    May 5, 2008 at 9:36 am

    Wonderful pics! I know I would have enjoyed watching that! Sorry Chitter isnt’ feeling well, praying she gets better soon!

  • Reply
    May 4, 2008 at 5:24 pm

    as i posted on moonbeam in a jar…in hawaii may day is a huge celebration. full of song, dance and tons of flowers. parents find some excuse not to show up at work or least show up late and they schedule the schools on different days so you do not have to choose which child you will watch

  • Reply
    May 4, 2008 at 3:36 pm

    Get well Chitter! Thanks, Tipper, for sharing the May Pole activities with us. Even though it was held indoors, I’ll bet it was lots of fun. xxoo

  • Reply
    May 4, 2008 at 2:18 pm

    Looks like so much fun! I don’t think I’ve ever seen a Maypole dance, though I’ve heard of them, of course.
    On my way over to your etsy. Come see me, ok?

  • Reply
    noble pig
    May 4, 2008 at 11:48 am

    I have always wanted to attend a May Pole celebration, it doesn’t seem to happen in my parts. Thanks for sharing it.

  • Reply
    May 4, 2008 at 8:10 am

    We surely missed Chitter. Hopefully next year!

  • Reply
    May 4, 2008 at 2:04 am

    Oh, I hope Chitter is feeling better now! Beautiful costumes you had to wear.
    When I was 4 or 5, a neighbor in Alaska had a maypole dance for the neighborhood kids. We went up a long driveway to her house where she lived in a little cabin under the trees. Maybe it was just a little girls imagination, but I still would swear that the squirrels and birds that surrounded her home were her personan friends. I was the youngest at this May Day dance and I remember winding my streamers around the wrong way until Hazel (was that her name?) had to take me by the hand so I wouldn’t tangle up the whole operation. What a fun memory that it to have. Glad to hear the tradition is still being kept alive!

  • Reply
    May 3, 2008 at 11:46 pm

    Tipper, I enjoy your blog. I remember may pole dances and festivals when i was in seventh grade. We also went to the stadium and held athletic events. That was the one and only time I ever was part of a winning team in atheletics. Our team won the relay race that day and I was the hero.
    I had long legs and my stride was a bit longer than the more athletic girl I had to beat. It was fun to win, but I enjoyed the May Pole dances more than racing.
    I didn’t know school still held may pole dances. I think that is lovely.

  • Reply
    May 3, 2008 at 11:25 pm

    I’m so sorry Chitter couldn’t participate. I do hope she’s feeling better. 😮
    Chatter looks like a positively lovely young lady. 🙂

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    May 3, 2008 at 10:17 pm

    Well, all I can say is you are A #1 mother material to fill in for Chitter on the May Pole!!

  • Reply
    May 3, 2008 at 10:05 pm

    Looks like a lot of fun!
    So sorry that Chitter didn’t get to join in. Maybe next year!

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