God’s May Pole means Christianity is firmly secured in God up in heaven reaching down through Christ Jesus God’s Only Way flowing through all rooted and grounded in Christ. The pole must be strong and durable or else becomes a hazard. May poles are decorated poles with rainbow coloured garlands which is usually the central focal point for fun dancing. The may pole dance is a community symbol of unity metaphorically represents a similar common focal point connection of faith in God. Jesus said, I am the Vine, ye are the branches those abide Jesus and vice versa, truly, truly, have eternal life says John 5:19. People together simultaneously are effectively moving interactively in unison in one direction or another with keen interest to achieve a goal. Each holds onto their garland firmly not to lose or tangle the whole process. One bad move and the pole comes tumbling down to cause hurt, or fatal injury. Similarly the Christian faith holds onto God directly yet supports each other. The dance consisted of pairs of boys and girls or men and women stand alternately around the base of the pole, each holding the end of a ribbon. They weave in and around each other, boys going one way and girls going the other and the ribbons are woven together around the pole until the merry-makers meet at the base. At the same time they enjoy themselves in interwoven accomplishment creating a strong cord that cannot be easily broken by spirit of unity. . So may pole interaction is likened here to God’s people linked together by faith in God through Christ flowing in love, unity with one accord through Christ at the centre of faith. The expectation and practice is increasingly popular as maypoles are communal symbols that bring the local community together. By the end of the 1700’s maypoles were in decline as young people turned to other forms of entertainment like dancing, singing, games, feasts, wine and merry making, displaying garlands. It was an occasion when ordinary people and the rich in parishes joined together to obtain and erect one. Trees were often acquired locally for the or poles from neighbouring communities. The wood for the pole was obtained and trimmed to size from trees removed then used as maypoles. Some communities retain their maypoles refurbished and raised every three years. The maypole originally was considered part of fertility rites. This concept was a source of target of raids by rival villages. Occasionally a source of friction with landowners whose property they had been cut without permission. The rise of Protestantism in the 16th century led to increasing disapproval of maypoles and other May Day practices from various Protestants who viewed them as idolatry so immoral.
Under the reign of Edward VI in England and Wales, Protestant Anglicanism state religion under Reformation many maypoles including Cornhill maypole destroyed. When Mary I ascended the throne after Edward’s death, she reinstated Roman Catholicism as the state faith, and the practice of maypoles was reinstated. Under later English monarchs, the practice was sporadic, banned in certain areas, such as Doncaster, Canterbury and Bristol, but continuing in others, according to wishes of local governors. In Scotland in the past as independent state, Protestant Presbyterianism, took a more powerful hold so stopped the practice of maypoles across the country. However, years later is enjoyed again even among Christian Churches during socialising activities to let the hair down. With royal support maypole displays and dancing during English Interregnum was outlawed. Long Parliament‘s ordinance 1644 described maypoles as heathen vanity, abused to superstition and wickedness. Breach of Long Parliament’s prohibition in 1655 in Henley-in-Arden. Despite local officials attempts to stop erection of maypoles for traditional games people floutedprohibition so turned maypole dancing into a symbol of resistance in Long Parliament that turned to the creation of the republic that followed.
The church of St Andrew Undershaft in London kept maypole under its eaves and set up each spring until 1517 when student riots put an end to custom. The maypole survived until 1547 when a Puritan mob seized and destroyed it as a pagan idol. Then the May Day celebrations, banned under the Commonwealth, were revived in 1660. The maypole at Castle Bytham, Lincolnshire, commemorated the date it was later cut in half for use as a ladder. When the Restoration occurred in 1660, people in London, in particular, put maypoles at every cross way. The largest was in the Strand, near the current St Mary-le-Strand church. That maypole was the tallest over 130 feet blown over by a high wind in 1672. It was moved to Wansted in Essex as a mount for a telescope. In the countryside, may dances and maypoles appear as the practice was revived substantially and joyously after the Restoration. By 19th century, maypole was the symbol of happiness and merriment. It is thought the intertwining ribbons was influenced by a combination of 19th century theatrical fashion and visionary through John Ruskin in the 19th century. Some see the maypole as anti-religious symbol of theologians, as shown by The Two Babylon anti-Catholic conspiracy pamphlet that first appeared in 1853. There are complex dances for set numbers of practised dancers. For example, the May Queen dancing troupes, use different types of dance involving complicated un/weaves not well known today. Each year, may pole dances are performed every Mayday around the permanent Maypole at Offenham, in Worcestershire. Temporary Maypoles are usually erected on village greens and events are often supervised by local Morris dancing groups. There are other activities like face painting, lifting together huge tent umbrella waved up and down with children running in and out underneath. Such outdoor activities encourage participation and exercise. Above all, the combination of variety of warm, bright, cheerful colours blended by each significant member of community shows each plays important role. It is interesting to note that each year the may pole may be reused after meticulously stripping it of the previous year’s accomplishment to start afresh. Sometimes God strips down all the things held onto and replaced with a better plan. So year by year those who participate in the may pole dance become experts and know which tress are most durable and long lasting. Storage and preservation to last longer to conserve green environment. Which toxic trees are a no no to avoid and fabrics have best strength to use as garlands. All these are efficiently put together to ensure excellent coordination and cooperation by the organisers so everyone taking part enjoy themselves and have fun. In Christ all those who hold on tirelessly enduring to end are saved. like the may pole they may be redressed many times, with changing circumstances, changed location, fall but Christ raises the believer standing strong in Christ Jesus in God.
courtesy credit image