In Old Europe, the first day of May was celebrated with hawthorn blossoms, dancing, drumming, hobby horses and village parades. May Day marked the ‘bright half’ of the year — the beginning of summer — a time when livestock were mating, fruit trees were blossoming, flowers buzzed loudly with bees, and birds were trilling and nesting. A ‘May Queen’ was crowned, and a ‘Green Man’ was her consort — and along with the phallic maypole, they represented the fertility, passion and sex that was bursting in nature all around them. When we transpose the calendar, this ancient pagan ritual occurs in the southern hemisphere on 1 November.
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