smile008While May Day is now considered to be 1st May, Beltane or Walpurgis starts on the last evening of April and ends on 1st May.  There is evidence that at in ancient times pagan celebrations occurred on the nearest full moon rather than the 1st of May

The Maypole

The Maypole is certainly a symbol of courtship, and in many celebrations, of fertility.  On constant theme is a dance with one or more virgin girls at the center of the rituals.  My favourite celebrations is where the girls hold white ribbons, and dance clockwise, whereas the boys have red ribbons and dance counter-clockwise.

Morris Dancing
Although Morris Dancing is practiced at other times of year it has a special place in May Day celebrations.  The ancient Morris Dance is of Moorish origin, in this ritual the May-pole represents the May Queen and the man on the hobby-horse represents the Moorish King.  Other participants in the traditional Morris Dance are the Fool, the Lesser Fool, the Franklin (Gentleman), the Spaniard and a Friar.  As they dance so the Morris Men make music with bells on the legs and also by banging sticks with fellow Morris Men.

 Jack-in-the-Green (The Green Man)

The origin of Jack-in-the-Green can be traced to May Day celebrations in general, and chimney sweeps in particular. There is even a suspicion that Jack-in-the-Green goes back to the Normans and the Bayeux tapestry. Jack-in-the-Green has obvious associations with Robin Hood, and became a central character in 16th Century English May Day celebrations. About 1830 the chimney sweeps took Jack-in-the-Green as their mascot for their May Day parades.  These sweeps made Jack-in-the-Green one of the most noticeable and feared characters in May Day parades. However, by late Victorian times chimney sweeps were in decline and moreover, the May Day celebrations became more sedate, for these and other changes in fashion, Jack-in-the-Green died out, until he was resurrected in Whitstable, Kent in 1976, and then in Hastings, by the Mad Jacks Morris Dancers in 1983.


Two yokels were driving to the next village's May Day Fair.  They came to a sign that said: May Day Fair Left.  ... so they turned around and went home!


A townie was looking for the May Day Fair, he stopped and asked Jethro.  'Will this road take me to the May Day Fair?' 

'Oh no,' said Jethro.  'You'll have to go by yourself!'


Freddie was looking at the animals section at the May Fair when a dirty, scruffy man came running in the opposite direction.  He stopped and asked Freddie, 'Have you seen a cart load of pigs go this way?' 'No', said Freddie, 'Why did you fall off?'


Norman decides to take a balloon ride on offer at the local May Day Fair.  The balloon and its customers drift along in the breeze, but eventually they are lost.   Norman has no idea where he is, so when the gondolier takes the basket down to ten feet above ground he calls to a passer-by: 'Excuse me, sir, can you tell me where I am?'

After looking Norman up and down, the passer-by says: 'You are in a red balloon, ten feet above ground.' The balloon's unhappy resident replied, 'You must be a lawyer'

'How could you possible know that?' asked the passer-by. 'Because your answer is technically correct but absolutely useless, and the fact is I am still lost'.

'Then you must be in management', said the passer-by. 'That's right! How did you know?' 'You have such a good view from where you are, and yet you don't know where you are and you don't know where you are going. The fact is you are in the exact same position you were in before we met, but now your problem is somehow my fault!'

Fuertenews is a free publication bringing you news and views about Fuerteventura. Any donations would be welcome.