May 1 – Arrival of the Sun

Maypole Dancing
Maypole Dancing

May 1 – Arrival of the Sun

The arrival of summer has been celebrated on May 1 in many countries in the north for 2000 years. Although actual summer starts in June, May 1st is a celebration to prepare for its arrival.
Beltane or Beltain is the Gaelic May Day festival, most commonly held on 1 May, or about halfway between the spring equinox and the summer solstice. Historically, it was widely observed throughout Ireland, Scotland and the Isle of Man. Beltane celebrates the union of the Goddess and the Green Man – the coming together of male and female energies to create new life (basically a way to welcome the summer season and fair weather). Traditionally, fires were lit at Beltane
Morris dancers in the UK

Morris dancers in the UK

Other May Day traditions include people dancing around a maypole and in the UK there is also the tradition of Morris Dancing, which has been danced for hundreds of years, and passed down through the generations in the villages of rural England. Morris dancers wear different coloured clothes depending on the part of the country in which they dance.

On May Day, people used to cut down young trees and stick them in the ground in the village to mark the arrival of summer. They would dance around the poles to celebrate the end of winter and the beginning of good weather that would mean planting could begin. The tallest maypole erected on the Strand in London in 1661 (143 ft high) was felled in 1717, when it was used by Newton to support Huygen’s new telescope.

I am a Chartered Environmentalist from the Royal Society for the Environment, UK and co-owner of DoLocal Digital Marketing Agency Ltd, with a Master of Environmental Management from Yale University, an MBA in Finance, and a Bachelor of Science in Physics and Mathematics. I am passionate about science, history and environment and love to create content on these topics.

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