Salute the Earth, Dance the Maypole

April 19, 2018 | By More

Let’s celebrate Beltane/May Day, the old Celtic first day of summer, hosted by Around the Goddess:  Saturday May 5th] at Champlain Park (140 Carleton Avenue) from 10:30-1:30 pm. There will be Maypole dancing, a simple ritual to honour our Mother Earth, garland making and a pot-luck finger food lunch.

When we circle the Maypole, which many believe is symbolic of the World Pillar, Axis Mundi or Tree of Life, it is a sacred time to honour the earth and all the gifts of green growth about to burst into life around us. And when we weave the Maypole ribbons over and under, we are, according to some old folklore and Goddess traditions, connecting heaven to earth.  All of us can observe yet another way of realizing our interconnected web of life!

Many European traditions are associated with May time and the Maypole in particular. The huge older poles seen in Germany and in many corners of England, or honored in Scandinavia around Midsummer, are much too tall to have ribbons attached at the crown for dancers to hold.  Back in the late 19th Century the Italian style of short pole ribbon dances was taught through the expanding school system of the British Isles, as a way women teachers could engage their students in “physical education.”  Ribbon dancing spread there and throughout the British Empire — in Ottawa, there is even a record of skaters dancing round a pole on the frozen canal!  Today many of the old tall poles in Britain have been adapted with ribbons at a lower level. In some villages both kinds of poles coexist; the impulse to dance and sing and celebrate the summer is everywhere!

In Helston, Cornwall, their annual Furry Dance takes place on May 8th, when they dance through the town literally bringing summer in front doors and chasing winter out the back, singing their “Hal-an-Tow,” which we can joyfully echo: To welcome in the summer, the summer and the May-O, For summer is a coming’ in and winter’s gone away, -O!

Beltane Maypole Celebration

Saturday May 5, 2018

10:30 – 1:30

Location: Champlain Park (140 Carleton Avenue)

Maypole dancing, a simple ritual to honour our Mother Earth, garland making and a pot-luck finger food lunch.

For more information, check the event page on Facebook or

Caroline Balderston Parry, author, artist, educator, celebrator

Category: Articles, Lifestyle & Environment

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