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Celebrating May Day

May Day in many countries is a celebration of spring that began in pre-Christian times. It was a day to celebrate the coming summer and the beauty of nature. It also coincides with the observance of International Workers' Day, sometimes called Labor Day commemorating the labor struggles of the late 1800s. This is a guide about celebrating May Day.
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May 1, 2009

This dance is a tradition on May 1st - May Day. It is danced in celebration of spring. Many years ago I researched May Pole Dancing for a teacher I was working with that wanted to teach the children the dance. I recently found the directions that I had copied from an old book I found at the library. When we built our maypole, we used a long PVC pipe that was about 5-6 inches in diameter so that we could attach the steamers so that they were taped to the inside of the pipe. We used plastic party streamers which we pretty wide and were pretty sturdy. Ours was about 12 feet of pipe with about 3 feet buried in the ground. One of the mothers made a beautiful silk flower bouquet that we used to decorate the top.

We used a tape of Celtic music with bag pipes and flutes but really any folk music could be used. There are many CDs now available with English and Irish folk songs that you can buy even at Walmart. Two groups that I love but don't know what nationality they are are Blackmore's Night and Enya. They both have songs that reflect the spirit of Spring but go with what ever you like.

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The dancers will be weaving the ribbons down the maypole. It is a beautiful circular dance. I have included instructions for older children and younger children and parents. It may take a few practice runs but the dance is relatively simple to learn.

An even number of participants take a ribbon (12 - 20 traditionally, but you can do this with even 6 kids if you make the pole smaller in diameter). Hold the ribbon taut but don't pull. Count off "'1",' "2"' around the circle (every other person is a 'One'). For 'Ones', the 'Two' on your left is your partner. For 'Twos' the 'One' on your right is your partner.

Even simpler: Happy May Day
Let your hearts be gay,
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To the music let your hearts sway,
Spring flowers are on their way.

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May 4, 20090 found this helpful

I got to do that as a little girl maybe six years old. I will always remember how cool the pole looked with the ribbon braided over it. Good for you, your kids are so lucky!

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