Thursday, May 08, 2008

The May Day Parade

Flora is dressed in her Fairy Princess dress. Grandpa made the head dress out of bedstraw and flowers from the Chinese Chestnut tree. Please notice the accents of bluebells and dandelion curls.

May Day is a spring festival celebrating human fertility and the renewal of nature. The festival originated with the celebration of the Roman goddess Flora and spread to other countries of the Roman Empire. May Day was especially popular in England during medieval times. Activities centered around the maypole, a tree collected from the woods and brought to the village to celebrate the upcoming summer. Many people participated in temporary sexual encounters while they were off in the woods. The preceding sentence is not for the ears of our grandkids!

Shepherdstown loves parades! This small hamlet is only one of a few towns in the United States that still celebrates May Day. Lucy is ready to attend this event and is covering her face as Uncle Jeff has taught her. This will protect her from the dangerous UV rays. Always take the advice of a dermatologist!

Grandma is also ready to see what this celebration offers.

Grandma Great Meads has always told the story of May Day celebrations she remembers as she was growing up in Kansas. As a little girl, she made May Baskets. These baskets were small and usually filled with flowers or treats and left at someone's doorstep. When you rang the bell, you were supposed to run away. The person receiving the basket would try to catch the person running away. If they caught the person, a kiss was to be exchanged.

The parade begins.

The young ladies below are carrying the cakes, which will be distributed at the May Pole Dance.

Several troups of Morrris Dancers participated. A Morris Dance is a form of English folk dance usually accompanied by music. It is based on rhythmic stepping and the execution of choreographed figures by a group of dancers. Implements such as sticks, swords, and handkerchiefs may also be wielded by the dancers. Check out the video at

Lucy and Rachael are in the parade. Rachael has donned her fairy wings.

Flora is dancing through the street as the bagpipes, fifes, and fiddles play.

Below you will see a special group of ladies. Here comes the virgins! They will be participating in the official May Pole dance.

This horsey fellow will also particpate in ceremonies around the May Pole.

Children are an important part of all Shepherdstown parades. The kids had their own May Poles that were planted around the main pole that was located on the lawn of McMurren Hall.

A parade can not be held in Shepherdstown without including the parade of canines!

Tomorrow we will post the Wheelbarrow Decorating Contest!


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