Mayday is here. That means it’s time to kick off your shoes, drape yourself in flowers and dance around a large phallic symbol in the woods. Exactly why you would want to do this, I have no clue. As a writer, I am honor bound to delve into the reasoning behind such odd behaviors, so I put on my research hat and went to work.
There are all kinds of explanations that originate from nearly every ancient civilization known to man. Back in the day, before Christianity found the Europeans, and said Europeans bowed to various deities, the pagan Celts built bonfires and paraded themselves and their cattle between them to purify them. The Germans attached ribbons, or something, to trees and danced around for the heck of it.
On a more technical side – May 1st falls roughly half way between the Spring Equinox and the Summer Solstice. For the northern hemisphere, it marks the beginning of the growing season, and the end of winter. Truly a cause for celebration – then and now. This makes some sense, as surviving winter back in the day was no easy feat, and the promise of a growing season to replenish storehouses for the next winter must have been a huge relief.
Every year I anticipate the first signs of spring with undisguised eagerness. There’s something about a stout little crocus pushing through the snow that warms my heart. It’s a promise of good things to come, a promise of renewal that almost makes me want to dance naked in the woods, so I can see where these ancient peoples were coming from – sort of.
Have you noticed only women celebrate Mayday? Why is that? I can only guess. Women were the ones with the most to gain by the arrival of Spring. Can you imagine being trapped in a drafty abode for months with a bunch of hairy, unwashed, bored and horny men? The day the women threw the castle or hut doors open in the Spring, and tossed their men through them, was a day worth celebrating! What a relief that must have been!
I’m sure this is where the tradition of Spring-cleaning comes from. Throw the men out, open the doors and windows, and sweep out the accumulated nastiness from the forced cohabitation of winter. I can see why the women ran to the woods to gather flowers and dance around. The men, on the other hand, probably weren’t so excited. The coming of Spring meant they had to go to work. No more lazing around, tupping the missus anytime they wanted, eating and drinking, and telling the same old glory days stories to their captive audience. No wonder there aren’t any references to men dancing around a maypole.
Now that I think of it, the whole dancing around the phallic symbol makes more sense now. After all the women had been through over the long winter months, I see the maypole dance as symbolic. Who wouldn’t want to strangle or at least restrain that member, if even symbolically, after months of non-stop action with a less than hygienic male? The men were probably hiding in the woods lest their women forget about the symbolic gesture, and take their celebration to a less symbolic level.
All that being said, I’m glad to see May arrive. Spring is just now arriving to the more northern areas of the country, and I’m anxious to open the doors and windows, and throw a few things out. Maybe I’ll take a walk in the woods or pick some pretty flowers, but I don’t think I’ll be dancing around any phallic symbols. How about you? Will you be celebrating Spring today?