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Maypole

The Maypole plays a key role in many May Day and Beltane festivities and rites. It is a tall wooden pole (traditionally of hawthorn or birch), with several long coloured ribbons suspended from the top. The top of the Maypole is often festooned with flowers and greenery.

Pairs of boys and girls (or men and women) stand alternately around the base of the pole, each holding the end of a ribbon. They weave in and around each other, boys going one way and girls going the other and the ribbons are woven together around the pole until the merry-makers meet at the base. (Modern maypole dances are often done without dividing the participants by gender, simply having them in pairs facing one another so half go one way and half go the other.) This weaving of the Maypole is considered by some to be a magickal act.

The Maypole is a phallic symbol[?], but its origin is in the Bile Pole[?] of the Celts. The Bile Pole is similar to the Norse World Tree, Yggdrasil, in that it connects the heavens, the earth, and the otherworld.

The Maypole is usually erected on a village green, and events are often supervised by local Morris dancing groups.



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