Join First Parish of Sudbury in dancing around the Maypole!
Sunday, May 1, at 9 am
On the Sudbury Town Common, across from First Parish
What does it mean and what does it signify?
Maypole dancing is a centuries-old tradition celebrated on May Day. It is believed to have started in Roman Britain around 2000 years ago, when soldiers celebrated the arrival of spring by dancing around decorated trees, thanking their goddess Flora. These days, dancers weave ribbons around a pole rather than a tree, celebrating the arrival of spring.
There are many various traditions about the meaning of the Maypole throughout Eastern Europe. The British May Day tradition of dancing around a maypole is around 600 years old and is shared with different communities, simply celebrating the coming of summer. In Scotland and Ireland, the day was a festival called Beltane, one of four important festivals in the Gaelic year, celebrating the fertility of spring.
Traditionally the dancers position themselves in pairs, each holding a ribbon and facing. When the music begins they walk in opposite directions from each other and weave a pattern that creeps steadily down the pole. The dancers then reverse their steps to undo the ribbons. This is said to represent the lengthening of the days as summer approaches.
Why does First Parish celebrate this tradition?
Unitarian Universalists create meaningful communities by drawing from many wisdom traditions, including world religions and Earth-Centered identities.
First Parish of Sudbury has been dancing around the Maypole for 30 years! This year we would like to invite all in town to join us in this joyful tradition— the coming of summer!