Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Maying weather.

Wake me early mother dear for I'm to be Queen of the May!

No I never was the pagan queen but there is something about May Day which is still exciting . Celebrating the arrival of summer feels very natural today after all the dreadful weather but it's always been a huge festival of light and joy and hope for the bountiful summer to come!

Back in the day as they say , in Rochdale we still had mummers who appeared on the streets first for Saint George's Day, enacting the slaying of the dragon in ringing tones and the clashing of wooden swords!

Shortly afterwards May day was a time for dancing and dressing up!

I was once chosen to be a dancer around the Maypole in the the years of austerity after the war! Only one or two of us had parents who could afford new clothes so we wore anything colorful that came to hand., flowered curtains made us sneeze alot!

I did not know then that the maypole was a phallic symbol of fertility. Just as well none of us did, it was an age of innocence .We would have been dreadfully shocked if it had been mentioned.

I seem to remember that it was always a holiday from school, as was Ascension Day . I am not sure how that worked or if my memory is playing tricks on me but I do remember the dressing up, the laughter and the jingling moves of the morris men.

Us girls thought it very weird to watch the men singing and dancing, waving their sticks and shaking their bells. No double entendra meant!

Today I doubt if any formal recognition of the day is being held but as its glorious outside with blossom and sunshine and the promise of more to come then it's a good enough excuse for a bit of a celebration!

Must get the bells out!


  1. Jean I also remember Ascension Day being a holiday from school certainly in the 60's in Lancashire. My first time reading from the Bible in a large Parish church was on Ascension day - I was 9 at the time. I clearly remember being trained to project my voice by standing at the top of the stairs in my Grandmothers house while my Mum stood out on the pavement to see if she could hear me!! After the service we went on a Sunday school outing to Southport! I think that the holiday from school must have stopped come the 70's as I don't remember having a day off in Secondary school.

  2. Sounds much like my own experiences...especially the outing to Southport.

  3. Sadly (boom, crash, brings everyone down to earth), May Day in my formative years had an altogether different connection.
    It was the day all the Trades Unions marched with their craft banners and red flags.
    All my May-day marches were political.
    Many years later my brothers were all Morrismen and took part (one still does) in May Day Morris displays in Kent.
    I never did the maypole and ribbons thing. Pity!

  4. It was probably a northern thing I think....May Day rallies came after!