Patrick Arundell Astrology

Maypoles on the 1st May

Published: Sunday, 1 May 2016 , contact Patrick on Google+, Facebook or Email.

When you think of Mayday you probably think of a maypoles. Its origins are pagan. In what is now Marsberg in Germany there was a giant and permanent ‘Maypole’ called the Irmansul, it was finally destroyed by Charlemange in 772. The pole was made from any straight tree trunk, and then a flag or a bush was added to the top whilst the rest was painted in spiralling stripes something like a barber’s pole. Once it was raised there would be much singing and dancing; the dancing often involving the skilful interweaving and undoing of the coloured ribbons hanging from the top of the pole.

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Puritan Misery, Philip Stubbs

Professional Puritan misery and Mayday hater Phillip Stubbs had a lot to say about the Maypole (and the people who enjoyed it), in one of his caustic pamphlets; Anatomie (sic) of Abuses (1583) he called it “the stinking Ydol” but then he would. Over the years the Maypole has fallen in and out of fashion; in 1644 the government banned the Maypole (and Christmas). After the restoration of Charles II the Maypole returned with a vengeance only to become less common in the 19th century. In rural parts of Britain interest in dancing round the Maypole is growing in popularity once more.

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Maypoles on the 1st May

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