A Heathenish Vanity

I thought i’d give a glimpse of something I’m working on at the moment. It’s coming to the time of year when people get dressed up and dance around a brightly coloured pole – a Maypole. It’s usually a very popular event and hopefully there will be some acceptable British bank holiday weather – a tall order i know but it could happen!

Next Monday i’ll going along to the Mayday celebrations to photograph the festivities and try and capture some of the atmosphere. The Maypole featured in the photo above is a permanent iconic structure on the local village green, unlike many other village Maypoles that are put up and taken down when required. Most of the year it just stands waiting, waiting patiently for May to arrive when it will become the focus of attention.

The history of the Maypole is fascinating with the practice falling in and out of favour with the ‘authorities’ on many occasions. Probably one of the more amusing descriptions comes from the Long Parliament ordinance of 1644 describing maypoles as “a Heathenish vanity, generally abused to superstition and wickedness.” Plenty to photograph then!

It’s old world clashing into the new, although it could be strongly argued that most village Maypole usage these days has more to do with tourism than any olde world beliefs. One visitor to the local celebrations where i am, is apparently coming all the way from Atlanta!

Look out for a Maypole gallery coming to  the main photography website soon

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