Thursday, May 1, 2008

the may pole dance

May 1st evokes many happy memories from my childhood. It means there’s only one month of school left before summer vacation and it can’t get here soon enough. You look forward to sleeping in everyday of the week, playing with your friends all day, and looking forward to the vacation that your parents have planned. But most of all – NO HOMEWORK!! Can I get a amen.

It also is a date on the calendar when you know old man winter is really gone and that spring has finally arrived. Planting can commence in the gardens putting in your favorite flowers and vegetables into the rich soil and stepping back to watch them grow in their beauty and produce their bounty.

My fondest memory of May 1st is May Day. May Day has different meanings in different countries; you can read all about it here.
In elementary school we would make May Baskets out of strips of colorful construction paper or decorate soup cans and fill them with flowers or treats. The tradition is to leave the filled basket on someone’s door stop, ring the door bell and run. I can’t seem to remember if I did the ring & dash bit as a child but I remember making baskets. I’m sure they were given to mom who was always thrilled to accept the haphazardly handmade gifts making such a fuss over how beautiful they were. Really, don’t you think mothers deserve an Oscar for the performances they give when given the ‘treasures’ we’ve made for them during the younger years of our lives? Mom’s appreciation was truly heart felt too, making you feel like you gave her the most prized possession. Thank you mom for playing along, you were a role model on motherhood even at that tender age.

What I REALLY loved about May 1st is that we did the maypole dance. Even the boys had to participate in this activity. We’d have practiced for days to make sure everyone knew what they needed to do so that the crepe paper streamers weaved a perfect pattern down the pole. What? You’ve never heard of the maypole dance? Well, let me explain.

You attach bright colored streamers onto a tall pole. The purpose is to form a weave pattern down the pole and to do this you have to alternate your streamer to ‘go over’ and then ‘go under’ the person in front of you. You form a circle around the pole and each person holds onto a streamer. In pairs you face each other so that half the group walks in one direction and the other half in the opposite direction. To start the dance it’s important to be on the right foot you can say. The people walking in the same direction need to start with the same motion (either ‘over’ or ‘under’) with their streamer and then from there you alternate this motion.

It was a lot of fun and I’m sure the teachers were always happy to get the kids outside to burn-off a little energy.

Here are some pictures that I found on the web of the dance.

Hope you have a wonderful May Day. Welcome Spring.


Satin said...

You write very well.

Ice Tea For Me said...

Satin - thank you for your kind words, I've never been a english major but I've always had the gift for gab.