May Day � where have all the flowers gone, long time passing?

May Day ��? where have all the flowers gone, long time passing? MyStoryYourStory
By: Paula Damon Where have all the flowers gone, long time ago? Where have all the flowers gone? Gone to young girls everyone. When will they ever learn? When will they ever learn?â�?�?Pete Seeger The May Day of my childhood has disappeared. The many traditions and customs of this first day of May are not even an afterthought â�?�? they are hardly a thought at all. What was once a dominant spring festival, May Day has fallen by the wayside with shoe horns, sprinkler bottles and praying before meals. In order to find the origin of May Day, a.k.a. the â�?�?bringing in the May,â�? one must reach back to a time before Christ. Over the years, beginning with the fiery celebrations of the Druids of the British Isles to the Romans worship of Flora (the goddess of flowers), May Day evolved into a celebration of renewal and rejoicing. It was a day that marked Mother Earthâ�?�?s birthing with traditions, such as crowning a May Queen, picking flowers and decorating a maypole. The May Day of my childhood consisted of decorating May baskets with flowers, which we secretly hung on the doorknobs around our neighborhood. Our maypole was a galvanized aluminum flag pole that grown-ups converted by draping it with twisted streams of pastel crepe paper. Then we danced around it in hop-steps until our legs ached and our voices became gravelly from throaty giggling. This maypole custom came from English villagers, who set out at dawn gathering flowers used to decorate a large straight branch that was set up in the village square. Then, villagers shed winterâ�?�?s dull-drums by lifting their spirits to the tempo of flutes and breaking into ceremonial dancing and singing in honor of virile, vibrant May. Toe, heel, toe, heel â�?�? chins turned up, heads held high, voices called for springtime to stay with them. It has been nearly 50 years since the last time I skipped and sang hand-in-hand with my classmates round and round a maypole. Yet, I still feel a grandness, a hope, on this first day of May that only budding trees, blooming flowers, warming south winds and memories of maypoles can produce in me. A resident of Southeast South Dakota for more than 30 years, Paula Damon is a popular columnist, keynote speaker and freelance writer. Her columns have won first-place national and state awards in The National Federation of Press Women competitions. Most recently, Damonâ�?�?s writing took second place statewide in the South Dakota Press Women 2007 Competition. For more information, e-mail paulada mon@iw.net. �?© 2008 Paula Damon

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