Dance the Maypole – The strength of Weaving at Your Perfect Spring Or Sum…

Wedding traditions offer richness and color to enhance your wedding ceremony and to transform your life! And whats more fun is that they can be remade to suit your life.

Consider the maypole. Despite its name, it can be appropriately danced during two whole wedding seasons: late spring and early summer! (its a little too cold earlier in the spring and the warm weather later in the year makes us just a bit too indolent for all that exercise!)

What is its traditional meaning? Fertility! Ancient Northern European traditions were not subtle. Spring came and they felt they needed to remind the world to wake up and do what was needed. Fertility was one of the most important things to the survival of a village. They danced the maypole in the fields, because they needed the fields to be high. They needed their families to be high because large families could gather/raise more food and the child mortality rate hovered at about 50 percent.

But what does it average to you? Well certainly fertility if you want. There is that tall pole and layers of people dancing, wrapping and unwrapping the pole. (wink, wink, nudge, nudge!) But it doesnt take much imagination to see that it might also average the layers of love within which a community enfolds a beloved associate.


A dance master: Someone should know whats going on and how to direct it! A wide open space: If youre going to include your complete community, you must have a lot of room under the ribbons for the first two groups to dance. A tall (very tall) pole: if youre going to have three layers of dancers, the pole needs to be long and it needs to be well secured at the base. Pole Decoration: The pole should be decorated at the top. If you have a symbol that youre using for your wedding include that. Make a wreath of wedding flowers. The bride and groom might use a smaller version of that wreath. Three layers of ribbons: The outermost and most abundant number of ribbons would be the communitys ribbons. The second inner of ribbons, slightly further down the pole, would be the attendants ribbons. The third inner has only two ribbons for the associate. Really, really long ribbons: They need to be at the minimum 2x as long as the pole or the place they are tethered on the pole. You may want them longer than usual because you want them to have lots of ends left when they are tied off so they can cascade down the pole. They should only be two or three inches wide. Decorate the ribbons: You may decorate the ribbons with bells so that there is the wonderful sound (of fairy laughter!) with the weaving of the dance. The community moves forward to take their ribbons and then move back into the time of action, holding their ribbons at shoulder height. The attendants gather up their ribbons and move as far out as their streamers will take them. The associate enters the time of action and pick up their (differently colored) ribbons. The music starts and facing in different directions, one partner going counter clockwise (often the woman) and the other going sunwise the associate wraps, unwraps and then wraps their pole, moving to the to an ancient folk song or a morris dancing song. You weave over and under one anothers head, turn by turn to get the pattern right. When the pole is wrapped in bridal ribbons and the associate is close enough to the pole to be wrapped in one anothers arms. The attendants then begin their dance around the pole. Wrapping and unwrapping and wrapping again. Weaving over and under. Their ribbons should be different colors from the bridal associates so that the symbolism of community enfolding begins. When the attendants are standing in a tight course of action around the bridal associate, the community then begins its weaving and unweaving. They may only want to weave 4 turns and then unweave 4 turns and then weave until finished. When the community has woven itself around the attendants and the associate, the wedding celebrant should offer a blessing. The dance master should then, starting with the outermost course of action, tie off the ribbons while the community sends silent blessings to the associate.

You may have too many people to do this well, in which case you may select a smaller number of community members to wrap the pole. But this lighthearted dance can add so much in the way of color to your wedding ceremony, sustain to your wedding vows and celebration to your marriage.  (Oh, if youre claustrophobic, dont do this!) Try something new, and enjoy! Your community wants to have a good time at your wedding. Why not let them? And then, because youll have the materials, use it at the next associates wedding or bridal shower! Save it for a associate trying to get pregnant. Reuse, recycle, revise and rededicate! 

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