Dancing Around The Maypole

The tradition of dancing around the Maypole in celebration dates back to the middle ages. In the beginning-folks would bring in trees from the forest to decorate-as time went by many towns permanently erected maypoles to celebrate the first day of May.

Typically the celebration-occurs on a beautiful spring day-sun shinning, ribbons waving, air warming. This year-and last year-Mother Nature decided the weather would be slightly different-as in a blinding rain storm.

With a show must go on attitude-both soggy May Day’s have resulted in a human Maypole!

As the colorful band played… the dancing began. The costumes were varied and colorful. And the human Maypole-worked out just fine!

The Maypole Celebration ended with everyone dancing Sellinger’s Round-a circle dance.

One of my favorite parts of the day-singing the May Day Carol. The words are so pretty-simple-and meaningful:

I’ve been a-wandring all the night, And the best part of the day. Now I’m returning home again. I bring you a branch of May.

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

blue on your face

Even with the rain-it was a wonderful Maypole Celebration. Chitter and Chatter came home with blue marks on their faces-do any of you know what they mean?

I wish you all a joyful May!



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  • Reply
    May 8, 2009 at 4:20 pm

    I was the Kindergarten “May Queen” when I was five years old – but have never had the opportunity to celebrate May Day since! What a fun tradition!

  • Reply
    May 7, 2009 at 11:30 pm

    Maypoles are so much fun! But I’ve never heard of a Morris Dancer!

  • Reply
    Carolyn A.
    May 5, 2009 at 6:32 am

    I’ve seen the Maypole dance, but have never participated. I do rememeber, however, that the marks were put on the cheeks of some of the dancers so others knew who to alternate past while the ribbons were being woven around the pole. Looks like everyone had a great time even if it was inside. 🙂 xxoo

  • Reply
    May 5, 2009 at 12:11 am

    Don’t have a single clue what the blue is for, but love the May pole dance. How fun!

  • Reply
    May 4, 2009 at 10:17 pm

    I had forgotten all about the Maypole tradition. Thank you for the reminder of an almost lost tradition.

  • Reply
    Rick Morton
    May 4, 2009 at 8:25 pm

    I remember something like this when I lived in Oklahoma (Army).
    The Cherokee women did something like this but only the women would dance.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    May 4, 2009 at 8:16 pm

    Yes, I danced a May Pole, a long time ago!
    Don’t have a clue about the blue!
    Looks like it was great fun in spite of the rain.
    A wonderful celebration of spring.

  • Reply
    May 4, 2009 at 1:53 pm

    I’ve never danced around a may pole as momma told me I didn’t ave the legs to be a pole dancer…wait…nevermind. Anyhow, it looks like a blast!
    Not sure I’d be brave enough to be the human pole though…I wouldn’t want to get choked up!

  • Reply
    Brenda Kay Ledford
    May 4, 2009 at 1:53 pm

    I love this posting and photos about “Dancing Around the Maypole” and the music is terrifice that goes with it. My mother had fond memories of Dancing Around the Maypole at the John C. Campbell Folk School.

  • Reply
    Glenda Beall
    May 3, 2009 at 11:43 pm

    Your post, Tipper, reminds me of the only “good” day I had in junior high school.
    On May Day we all went to the stadium for the whole day. We had a May Pole but I wasn’t involved in the dancing. Seems certain girls in pretty white dresses danced. But after that we held races, etc. and I was on a relay team and because of my long legs I pulled ahead in the last part of the race and my team won. Hah! Only athletic event I ever took part in. But it was fun. Loved this post.

  • Reply
    May 3, 2009 at 9:29 pm

    I think you have a lot of fun up thar in those hills. Keep it up. Pappy

  • Reply
    May 3, 2009 at 8:31 pm

    I am really curious! what is the blue? I have never danced around a Maypole but I have ALWAYS wanted to. Spring time is so happy, I want to join your celebration. Sorry the sun wasn’t around to enjoy it.

  • Reply
    Jennifer in OR
    May 3, 2009 at 8:28 pm

    Do tell about the blue marks–it looks like fun. And I loved the girls singing in the previous post, “How’s the World Treating You.”

  • Reply
    Nancy Simpson
    May 3, 2009 at 7:43 pm

    Yes, I’ve been around long enough to dance in a May Pole Dance more than once. I still see them done at the John C. Campbell Folk School.
    I was a (crepe paper) flower in a May Festival when I was age five in First Grade. An ex stage dancer came to the school and taught us how to dance and be flowers. Classical music played across the schoolyard. We had one butterfly, also dressed in crepe.
    Winter is hard. We should all be dancing our feet off every year on the first of May.

  • Reply
    May 3, 2009 at 6:33 pm

    Well…no and no.
    But it looks like a lot of fun! And colorful!

  • Reply
    May 3, 2009 at 6:15 pm

    Way cool. I would love to have that kind of fun. Great stuff.

  • Reply
    May 3, 2009 at 4:46 pm

    It sounds like a fun tradition. I think I would prefer dancing around the pole to dancing around the person.If we did it as a child, I can’t remember it.

  • Reply
    Helen G.
    May 3, 2009 at 3:15 pm

    Never danced around the Maypole, but I heard stories about about them from people all my life. It looks like a fun way to celebrate spring coming in… except I would have preferred a sunny day myself if I were going to do the dancing.
    What a fun post.
    Helen G.

  • Reply
    Julie at Elisharose
    May 3, 2009 at 2:41 pm

    I have never danced around a Maypole nor do I have any idea what the blue means. But it all sure looks like a lot of fun!

  • Reply
    May 3, 2009 at 2:40 pm

    We did that in PE when I was in grade school. The pole was really pretty when were finished. Then I think it was decided it was a pagan thing. Now, God can’t get in the school either. Looks like everyone had fun at your celebration.

  • Reply
    May 3, 2009 at 12:06 pm

    How much fun! This reminds me of a scene from one of my favorite movies “Once Around”.In this scene, Holly Hunter and Richard Dryfus are getting married and they have a maypole with the cheeriest music! Such a sweet movie. Loved your music on here too! blessings,Kathleen

  • Reply
    Fishing Guy
    May 3, 2009 at 10:39 am

    Tipper: I certainly remember this from youth. It doesn’t seem to be done around here anymore. The blue marks are from the wet blue crepe paper leaving it’s mark would be my guess.

  • Reply
    Just Jackie
    May 3, 2009 at 9:20 am

    I love May Pole dances. When I was young it was still politically correct to have a maypole dance. We had one every year at the school I attended. It was so much fun. We always made a mess of the ribbons.

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