Friday, May 02, 2014

May Day with Yeats

May Day comes and goes with nary a thought about the meaning. It is actually the cross-quart day between spring and summer. It is also known as May Day Beltane, according to Celtic folk lore. This day was a celebratory known know for gathering green branches and flowers and twining them into wreaths or sticks. 

Girls washed their hair in the morning dew and were sure they would see the face of their true love in that early dampness. May Day celebrates the persistence of life and the possibility of love.

I am not sure about you, but I did not wash my hair in the morning dew as it was 40 degrees in my back yard, and I certainly did not go out to look for the face of my true love in the dampness. I didn't even have my traditional May Day campfire because of the rain (could that have been snow?)

Perhaps another day I will try the hair washing, and the campfire will soon come to be when I can drop the winter coat!

Hope you had a great May Day!

The Land of Heart's Desire

The wind blows out the gates of day,
The wind blows over the lonely of heart
And the lonely of heart is withered away,
While fairies dance in a place apart,
Shaking their milk-white feet in a ring,
Tossing their milk-white arms in the air.

W.B. Yeats


Anonymous said...

On April 30 I quizzed my co workers, What day is tomorrow. Each looked at me oddly, I replied "It is May Day. May Pole dances, gathering nosegays..."

Most knew nothing of the tradition. I think I danced in a May Pole event once in my elementary years, alas. However the postcard I sent from Philadelphia featured Bryn Mawr and students engaged in the traditional May Pole dance, how charming. At least I did my bit in raising awareness of such things to the blue collar workers at the plant.

Lou Ann Homan said...

Thanks for the story. I know, no one pays any attention to May Day! It really is a wonderful time to celebrate, although in this part of the country this year, the trees are still a bit stark (no leaves), and we have the heat on. Lou Ann

P.S. You will enjoy today's column!!