Monday, May 2, 2011

365 Days, Day 326

Mystery. The strangeness of place so necessary to some creative spirits. A perfect mixture of the classical utopia and the pagan mystery (Dan Simmons)

# May Day is Beltane, which means 'day of fire'. It is an ancient Pagan festival. Bel was the Celtic God of the sun.

# May Day marks the seasonal transition from Winter to Summer and celebrated the first spring planting.

# Putting a Maypole up involved taking a growing tree from the wood and bringing it to the village to mark the coming of Summer. Single men and women would dance around the Maypole holding on to ribbons until they became entwined with their (hoped for) new loves.

# Social hierarchy was set aside on May Day to involve everyone from the highest to the lowest.

# May Day is a celebration of fertility. In the old days whole villages would go to the woods and all sorts of temporary sexual liaisons would take place.

# Robin Goodfellow, also known as the Green Man was the Lord of Misrule on May Day. He and his supporters would make jokes and poke fun at the local authorities.

# Unlike Easter, Whitsun, or Christmas, May Day is the one festival of the year with no significant church service.

We went to our first May Day Fayre this morning. A lovely English tradition which involved the whole community, so it seems. It is run locally byt by the Ifield Barn Theatre group and the adjoining church congregation. Tom and I wandered around for a while. I bought a flower garland for my hair, we visited the stalls. My favourite moment was when there an announcement for First Aid to report urgently to the Splat-the-Rat stall. My sense of humour was wondering if the rat had been splat-ed beyond repair, or whether some child had splat-ed their own hand hehehe

There was a May Queen who was crowned by the local mayor (first time I’ve seen him) – she was brought in on a seat on a trailer which was pulled along by a tractor. She was preceded through the streets of Ifield by a brass band. Tom and I felt a little like outsiders, which I suppose we are. I chatted to some of the local Barn thespians whom I know.

My observations today:

Some of the stalls were amongst old gravestones.

I really liked the bunting flags everywhere.

There seemed to be a sense of community.

There is a lovely old house (actually two semi-detached houses) which I would like to live in, right next to the Ifield church (they are not for sale)

It was a lovely day out, I am sure we will be more involved next year

I loved hearing the planes overhead.

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