Friday, May 01, 2015

May Day, Vintage Photo Friday

Maypole Dance at Echo Park Playground, Los Angeles, 1927. Herald Examiner Photo Collection

When I was a child, we celebrated May Day at my elementary school, Beverly Vista, by learning folk dances and the Maypole Dance. May Day is a European celebration of Spring, going back to Pagan times. I remember practicing dances for weeks. There were many groups of us, surrounding metal poles stuck into holes of the asphalt playground. Each child held a plastic streamer that was attached to the top of the pole. We performed some sort of skipping dance in the round that wrapped the Maypole with our streamers in a decorative way, accompanied by various songs, heard over the loudspeaker system. There were a few other folk dances performed for this celebration while our parents watched and applauded.

Beverly Vista Elementary School, Beverly Hills

From WikipediaRoots of May Day celebration in America: The Puritans frowned on May Day, so the day has never been celebrated with as much enthusiasm in the United States as in Great Britain. But the tradition of celebrating May Day by dancing and singing around a maypole, tied with colorful streamers or ribbons, survived as a part of the English tradition. The kids celebrating the day by moving back and forth around the pole with the the streamers, choosing of May queen, and hanging of May baskets on the doorknobs of folks -- are all the leftovers of the old European traditions.
My First Grade May Day Dance Posse

I also remember cutting out flowers from construction paper and arranging them in some fashion and presenting them to my Mom for May Day. Maypole dances were abandoned at school by the time I was in third or fourth grade. I think this must have had something to do with the cold war and the association of May Day in Russian History as a Communist celebration.

Mr. Larry, the May King of Crocheted Flowers

I shall celebrate the traditional May Day this year by enjoying the flowers blooming in our garden, the beautiful Jacaranda trees on the streets of Los Angeles and the glorious weather!  Happy May Day, my friends.

Flowers along the driveway at our house

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