photo blog

May Pole Dancing

An ancient ritual still celebrated in rural England

May Day main image
Ickwell Green in Bedfordshire, England is a small village with a big tradition. The earliest documented Ickwell May Day festivities were in 1565. By then it had become a Christian festival, though its origins likely pre-date Christianity to the pagan Beltane festivals, a fire festival celebrating the spring. In 1872 the village squire erected a permanent Maypole and left a bequest in his will to fund the annual celebration. Every year a new May Queen is chosen from among the village girls and is crowned on the village green. Afterwards there is dancing around the May Pole Morris men and general festivities all shrouded in the vestiges of ancient rites.

Ickwell May Day-1

Ickwell May Day-2

Ickwell May Day-3

Ickwell May Day-4

Ickwell May Day-5

Ickwell May Day-6

Ickwell May Day-8