Tag Archives: medieval celebrations

It’s May Day

I don’t suppose most of you have ever danced around a Maypole, weaving in and out among the other dancers until the ribbons festooned the pole in color.  I can tell you, it was fun.  Up and over, down and under, laughing, dancing, singing, sometimes tripping, until the ribbon grew too short to continue and we fell, giggling, to the ground.

In medieval times, May Day called entire villages out to celebrate.  At dawn, the Maypole dance started the festivities and the party continued until dark.

The official color of the day is green.  Wreaths crowned heads and green sashes circled waists since, for most of the time period, only the wealthy could afford (and later, were permitted to wear) garments dyed bright colors.  As the day progressed, more greenery was collected, woven, and hung to decorate walls and doorways, welcoming the growing season.

May Day festivities included games, tournaments, music, dancing, and a feast where all the foods, including the trenchers, were green.  (I could find nothing to tell me how or with what medieval people made green trenchers.  Thus, I do hope they used dye.  The alternative isn’t very appetizing.)

Not surprising after an all day party celebrating life, love, procreation, and renewal, nine months hence, the village would see a spate of newborns who would, in their turn, maintain the village and its traditions.

Mayday represented hope.  Thus, this May Day, I wish you and yours enough seed for a good harvest and a year of hope and prosperity.

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