May Day

This is an ancient festival welcoming spring. It is one of our biggest community events of the year and takes place early in May. A grassy area is decorated with bountiful fresh flowers around a colorful Maypole. Music, food, maypole dancing, and crafts create a fun, festive environment for families to enjoy. As the festival begins the children and parents gather together and each child makes a wreath of ivy and flowers from the gardens to fit their heads, taking their time to make a special crown of flowers that they will wear during the May Pole dance. It is always exciting for the children who have prepared for the day by learning May Day songs and music. The children will have learned simple skipping steps, or more complicated weaving steps, for dancing around the May Pole, dressed up in their spring finest.

The May Pole is a tall wooden pole with a circular top decorated with flowers and ribbons hanging down to the ground. As the time draws near for dancing, each child takes up a ribbon and stands at its farthest reach. To begin, it is tradition that each person greets their neighbor with a bow and then greets the May Pole. Then the dancing begins. The children sing May Day songs and walk, skip, skip/step, or weave around the May Pole creating a wonderful swirl of ribbon around the pole. They keep going around singing and dancing, watchful of their ribbon creation until the ribbons are wound as much as can be. Then they turn and begin again as the ribbons are unwound and hang long once more.

Once everyone has had a turn at dancing it is time for the sweet refreshment of strawberries and cream. Once the day is done, we go forth into a new world. It is a world where we have a new appreciation for spring flowers, their textures, their smells and their colors.