720. O, the month of May, the merry month of may… ~Thomas Dekker

Ho! the merrie first of Maie
Brings the daunce and blossoms gaie
To make of lyfe a holiday!
~Old English saying

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Thousands of years ago winter was a time to honor death and the summer a time to honor life. In those ancient times the short days, grey skies, and cold temperatures began to wear people down and that coupled with a gradual decline in food supplies took its toll on their spirits. Indeed winter was a very difficult time for the ancients, and so the coming of summer brought them great hope. As the crops and grasslands became full of life again, the animals bred, and the warmth of the sun thawed out the earth and their spirits, they celebrated the cross-over and coming change in the human cycle that reflected the turning of the seasons. It was a time for celebrating the forces of life overcoming death, light overcoming darkness, and summer overcoming winter.

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Thus began the dancing around the May pole. A kind of maypole dance, with origins in the 18th century, began as a traditional artistic dance popular in Italy and France. Eventually, traveling troupes performed it in London theaters, thus bringing this traditional dance to larger audiences. An English teacher training school adopted the maypole dance and soon it had spread across most of central and southern England. The dance became part of the repertoire of physical education for girls and remained popular in elementary schools in both England and the US well into the 1950’s.

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I remember in elementary school making May baskets and flowers out of coloredl pieces of construction paper and crepe paper. Today May Day has many different meanings, if any, but it eventually found its place in Christianity. And though considered quaint now, in decades past, like dancing around the maypole, as the month of April rolled to an end, people begin gathering flowers and candies and goodies to put in May baskets to hang on the doors of friends, neighbors, and loved ones on May 1st. And there were even rules about the basket tradition:

1.  Giving was supposed to be anonymous. Reciprocity was not expected. One was to leave the basket on the doorknob or doorstep, ring the doorbell, and run.
2.  Children were to give to grownups, instead of the other way around. On almost every other holiday, only the child receives gifts; so they don’t get to experience the true joy of unselfish giving.

He(Jesus) told them this parable: “Look at the fig tree and all the trees. When they sprout leaves, you can see for yourselves and know that summer is near…” ~Luke 21:29-30   ✝

**Images via Pinterest and the Internet; collages created by Natalie

20 thoughts on “720. O, the month of May, the merry month of may… ~Thomas Dekker

  1. I love the traditions of May Day. We had the May pole when I was a child also, and I remember it all as so much fun. Today’s kids just don’t have a clue, with all those electronic toys. When electricity is out, how will they ever know how to play real games? They have no imagination left. Blessings, Peace and HUGS. A.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Me too, Angie. And you are so right about today’s kids, but then sadly that’s been the case for some time now. One of my student’s told me once that I was the most creative person he’d ever known.
      Although, I was flattered, it was sad that he’d not known creative people. Love and hugs, my friend, N. 🙂 ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      • That is sad. I’m happy that I’m old now, and probably won’t live to see the days when this present generation takes over. I shudder to think of a world run by people without imaginations. How dull and colorless it will be.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Gigi. I’ve been loving you pics and things from your trip. I’m so glad you had a great time and I’m so looking forward to our upscoming trip. My knee replacement was nine weeks ago yesterday and so my stamina is still off a bit and my balance is still off a bit too. But other than that I am doing very well considering.
      And yes, most days I’m a happy camper. I hope you are as well.
      Hugs and love, N 🙂 ❤

      Like

  2. I was thinking about the maypole this morning and of how the world has celebrated the coming of May for generations–and sadly my thoughts turned to Russia who has, as long as I can remember, celebrated May Day in Moscow by holding a massive and spectacular military display and parade–funny how most of us think of gaiety, flowers and all that is joyful of Spring and yet an age old nemesis parades tanks, soldiers and aircraft—we still have so far to go. . .
    Yet I join you in rejoicing!!!
    Happy May Day my friend—Julie

    Liked by 1 person

    • I opted not to include that info about Russia because I wanted it to be a joyful post as well as an informative one about the reasons the May Day celebrations came into being. Like most everything, such things can be connected to Creation and God’s timely provisions even though the first celebrants were pagans. That’s why I love that line in Romans about Creation being enough to reveal God and His nature. Hugs, N 🙂 ❤

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