Saturday, May 02, 2009

Fading Memories of My Pagan Youth ...

Another May Day has come and gone, and added another year to the span separating me from my pagan youth.

Another year passes, and with it comes a growing number of those with no idea that, once upon a time, May Day was something other than an occasion for celebration in various Marxist/Socialist/Communist/whatever communities.

It hasn't always been that way. May Day, or some variation of it, has ancient roots in European cultural history (prehistory, even), and like so many other celebrations back then, was tied to the movements of stars, the phases of sun and moon, and the passing of seasons.

Pagan in it's origins and observance, it was not adopted/adapted by the burgeoning Christian faith, and it's observance declined over the centuries. Still the tradition (what some call the 'green root' of May Day) persisted, and was still being celebrated at Trucksville Elementary School, in Pennsylvania, in the early 60s .... complete with music, dancing, and wrapping the maypole in brightly-colored ribbons.

But as the ancient green root diminished, another more recent root (what those same historians call 'the red root' of May Day) flourished through the 20th century in places like the Soviet Union and Cuba, and other parts of the world (including communities in the US) ... celebrating something far removed from what those Pennsyvania grade-schoolers celebrated.

Google-news the phrase "may day celebrations" and all you get is celebration a that grew from the red root of May Day ... kind of a shame, really ... I guess I'm just a sentimental old pagan.

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