Thursday, May 1, 2008

May Day

In Sweden it is usually called a midsommarstång, as it appears at the Midsummer celebrations, but it is also called majstång.
Sometimes a crown of flowers is placed on top of the maypole, supported by the ribbons, so that it gradually descends the pole as the ribbons are woven together, finally falling to the ground.
Today maypole dances are often done without dividing the participants by gender, simply having them in pairs facing one another so half go one way and half go the other.
In Sweden similar traditions were once observed but today the pole is the centre of traditional ring dances, the songs being more or less the same as during the dances around the Christmas tree. Arrangements are usually made by local traditional groups. Swedish speaking parts of Finland often celebrate Midsummer with a midsommarstång as well.

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