Pub. date: 2009 | Online Pub. Date: May 18, 2009 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412971935 | Print ISBN: 9781412966702 | Online ISBN: 9781412971935| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
The maypole dance, which is among the oldest fertility dances, is a circular dance steeped with mystical symbolism, where individuals of one sex take possession of individuals of another sex by circling and enclosing them. Dancers perform a circular dance, holding colored ribbons attached to a pole decorated with flowers and greenery representing a tree. Ribbons become intertwined onto the pole or into a web around the pole in the circular course, and players then retrace their steps in reversed order to unravel the ribbons. The maypole folk dance traditionally as a fertility dance is associated with May Day (May 1) and the Swedish Midsummer Day (the Saturday closest to lune 24). May Day is a cross-quarter day marking the midpoint of the Sun's progress between the vernal equinox and the summer solstice ...