Ritual dances around the giant phallic symbol, and other memories of my youth

Happy May Day to you all, happy blog readers.
It has come to my attention that many people today are not aware of the significance of May Day and the appropriate celebration thereof. (I am one of those people, but I will try to convince you of knowledge I do not have with vague truths and a sense of authority). Here goes:

When I was but a wee lass, and living in the deep South, we celebrated May Day with the traditional May Pole Dance. There was a large celebration in the historic town square, complete with music and food and the required entrepreneurial vendors. And of course, the May Poles. (If the reasoning behind the May Pole was ever explained to me, it has since been lost in the mental archives, but I'm pretty sure that the "Germanic pagan fertility symbolism" part was not in the brochure at the time.) I do remember that May Day was a very big deal. We all had costumes, which for us girls consisted of identical white dresses with pink bows on the back and a wreath of flowers on our heads. And white ballet shoes, which is by far that coolest footwear that one can manage to wear. Anywhere. My second grade class practiced for weeks to perfect the May Pole Dance. We were divided into boy-girl pairs (my partner was a boy named Grant, and the only thing I can remember about him was that he was shorter than I was, which was very disappointing to me, because everyone knows that the boys are supposed to be taller). Anyway, everybody holds on to a ribbon that's attached to the top of the pole, and you weave in and out of the other dancers, thereby weaving the ribbon around the pole in a (hopefully) aesthetically pleasing manner. In truth, our class usually ended up with sometime accidentally tied to the May Pole and several arguments about who was supposed to go over and who was supposed to duck under. Ms Carroll, our teacher (bless her patient soul) would work tirelessly, untying knots, breaking up fights, and clapping in rhythm while yelling "Over! Under! Over! Under!" from the sidelines. Eventually, Ms Carroll's desire for perfection would shatter under the weight of 8 year old clumsiness, and anything short of mass accidental strangulation was considered a success.

That, my friends, is how you celebrate May Day.

1 comment:

smc said...

You know, I never got to do the dance around the giant phallic symbol. By the time I was old enough they had discovered all the terrible side effects and years of therapy it induced. *Sigh. Older sibs get all the fun.