I’m watching Paula Deen on the boob tube as I blog. Can you tell?
May has always been a special month, dating to Eastside Elementary in West Point, where we did the maypole dance on the first of May each year. It was a very big deal.
Bringing in the May
In medieval England, people would celebrate the start of spring by going out to the country or woods—"going a-maying"—and gathering greenery and flowers, or "bringing in the may." This was described in "The Court of Love" (often attributed to Chaucer, but not actually written by him) in 1561:
And furth goth all the Court, both most and lest,
To feche the floures fressh, and braunche and blome;
And namly, hawthorn brought both page and grome.
With fressh garlandes, partie blewe and whyte,
And thaim rejoysen in their greet delyt.
(Who ever wrote it, couldn’t spell worth a darn.)
In the 19th century, people began to braid the maypole with ribbons by weaving in and out in the course of a dance. Other later traditions include making garlands for children and the crowning of the May Queen.
I don’t think anyone does the maypole dance any longer. Pity.