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Uploaded on Dec 8, 2006
May Pole Dancing at Winterborne Stickland Fete 2006
The most well known symbol of May Day (1st May) is the maypole. The custom of dancing around the maypole is an ancient fertility rite, which is still performed today on village greens and at spring fetes.
The origins of the maypole hark back to ancient times when tree spirits were worshiped and indeed the first maypoles were tall slender trees, usually birch, which had their branches lopped off, leaving just a few at the top to be adorned with garlands and blossom: a far cry from the more elaborate designs of today.
Discover more Dorset traditions in the book 'Dark Dorset Calendar Customs', by Robert Newland, now available at Amazon.co.uk. Visit the Dark Dorset website, http://www.darkdorset.co.uk or blog http://darkdorset.blogspot.com and open the door to a world of fascinating folklore and legends.