Maypole dancing has been an English tradition for over 600 years. Performed as a group, first of all dancers take a hold of colourful ribbon attached to the top of the pole and begin weaving the ribbon around the pole to music. Traditionally this dance is performed in pairs, the dancers gradually weave the multi-coloured ribbons down the pole and finally reverse the steps towards the end of the dance.
This year, May Day Bank Holiday Monday falls on the 6th of May in the UK. Across the country towns and villages will be holding celebratory events. Most celebrations will include a Maypole performance.
The ribbons attached to the Maypole represent the length of days before summer commences.
Many people learn Maypole dancing at school and there are a number of routines that can be learnt. Usually, beginners learn the Circle Dance but other routines include: The Barber’s Pole, The Spider’s Web and The Plait.
The first instance of maypole dancing was in the 14th century in Wales.
Other English May Day Traditions
Morris Dancing: Morris Dancing is a traditional May Day Dance.
Welcoming of the new season: In Somerset the pagans and druids gather at dawn to welcome the new season of warmth and light.
Sweeps Festival: Sweeps Festival has been celebrated in Rochester for over 400 years. May Day was the only day of the year that Chimney Sweepers would not work therefore they would very much enjoy May Day!
We hope you enjoy the bank holiday weekend!