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Maypole Dancing

A May Day custom and found in most Germanic and Scandinavian countries.

A tall wooden pole with long coloured ribbons fastened to the top. It has evolved over time from a decorated pole with flowers and garlands to a shorter, plainer pole and the dancing has evolved from circle dances to the plaiting.

Often now associated with children and the typical interweaving dance of clockwise and counter-clockwise circles which plaits and then unplaits the ribbons. This seems to have been in vogue since the 18th century.

The Romans held a festival which spanned May Day (Floralia) and the association of flowers could well have been adopted at this time into the Beltane festivities.

It was another activity discouraged during the era of Puritan rule in England and when reinstated had lost much of its ancient meaning, becoming another general festivity.