Sunday, April 29, 2012

Summer is icumen in.

GUENEVERE:
Tra la! It's May!
The lusty month of May!
That lovely month when ev'ryone goes
Blissfully astray.
Tra la! It's here!
That shocking time of year
When tons of wicked little thoughts
Merrily appear!
It's May! It's May!
That gorgeous holiday
When ev'ry maiden prays that her lad
Will be a cad!
It's mad! It's gay!
A libelous display!
Those dreary vows that ev'ryone takes,
Ev'ryone breaks.
Ev'ryone makes divine mistakes
The lusty month of May!
-- from the musical "Camelot"

I know y'all are going to think that I'm rushing the seasons here, but honest to goodness, the ancient folks in the British Isles considered May 1st -- also known as Beltane -- to be the first day of summer.  (That's why the summer solstice is also known as Midsummer's Day -- it's halfway between Beltane and Lughnasa, the first harvest, which is August 1st or 2nd.)

There are many charming customs associated with Beltane -- among them, dancing around a Maypole, burning a wicker man (with people inside, if Julius Caesar is to be believed) to symbolize the end of winter, weaving flower garlands, driving the livestock between two bonfires before taking them out to summer pastures, washing one's face with the dew (it's supposed to make you beautiful), and/or sneaking off with a special someone for some afternoon delight.

I can't help you with most of those, sorry.  But I did find directions here for how to make your own tabletop Maypole.  I modified the directions a little bit for mine because I am useless with a glue gun: I used a thinner dowel and drilled a hole in the wooden base, then used carpenter's glue to set the dowel in the hole. Then I used a nail to anchor the ribbons to the top of the pole, and put a candle ring at the base.

One other thing I can help you with is some free summer reading.  As I posted a couple of days ago, Seized and "Lulie" are both free at Amazon starting today and through Tuesday.  Enjoy, and happy Beltane.
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