|Every year I get more requests for information on how to celebrate May Day so here are some basic suggestions about May-poles, dances, and music. Since Mayday has been celebrated for thousands of years all around the planet, I can assure celebrants that there is no ONE right way. (click here for history of Mayday) Following is a sample list, ranging from simple to difficult, of celebration suggestions.|
The May-pole (click here for history of the May-pole)
Most difficult is the May-pole woven with ribbons, not because it is harder to construct or decorate than other types of May-poles, but because ribbon weaving dances are too complicated for children to accomplish. Two colors of ribbons are used and dancers alternate steps and directions. The following instructions and related dances were devised for college women who were willing and able to practice before their performance.
There is an important thing about beribboned May-poles -- the dancers expect an audience.
Easiest for young children.
More complicated, is dancing around the May-pole with
particular steps. Four sets of two place themselves at each corner.
The following sample quadrille is taken from May-pole Possibilities.
Most complicated is weaving ribbons around the May-pole. These instruction come from a book published in 1907. You will have to figure it out for yourselves. Good luck. It was performed by college students who practiced long, hard, and with enthusiasm.
What about music? The real answer is: anything goes. There has never been traditional tunes connected to Mayday, although the traditional English instruments are a pipe and a drum (played by the same person.) If you still need guidance on the matter, I will suggest the Virginia Reel or a formal waltz or Comin Through the Rye I am posting some sheet music from my source books.
I hope these suggestions are useful. For the most part,
they were taken directly from the following out of print books: