May Day is one of the four main pagan festivals, and in pre-Christians Britain was celebrated as Beltane.
Call me a heathen, but I went for the Morris Dancing, home baking and kids games.
May Day is celebrated as the start of summer, and can be linked to the Roman Spring Festival of Floralia. It’s celebrated with bonfires and dancing (and still celebrated with the modern equivalents of the BBQs and drunken dancing of modern times?)
The May Day pole dancing and flowers and garlands are regarded as Roman customs which have been carried on to today.
This particular fair was held in leafy Richmond, in St Mary Magdalene’s churchyard to raise funds for the bell tower.
This little fella didn’t seem too happy to have his normally serene home invaded by kids full of sugar and harried parents, oh except when they supplied him with the left over tidbits of course!
It was lovely to just get out and about in the spring weather we’ve been having. The fact that I got to explore another English tradition was a bonus.
Fact for the day: The link between the Maypole and the festival of Flora was one of the reasons why Oliver Cromwell in 1644 banned the erection of maypoles which he declared to be a heathenish vanitie, with the local parish being fined five shillings for every week until the Maypole was taken down.
I’m not sure I’ll ever ‘get over’ the variety London and it’s boroughs offers. A new friend asked me if the blog forced me to do more. It definitely does, but I’m really glad of it. In the last year or so I’ve explored more of London than I probably did in the preceeding 6 years.