Welcome to The Ephemera Society Website
News   About Us   Membership   Events   Links


Image of The Maypole Calendar for 1899

The Maypole

  • Large die-cut Calendar for 1899
  • Published by Raphael Tuck & Sons Ltd
  • 125 x 220mm (10¾ x 19½in)

Maypole dancing is an ancient custom and was part of the Springtime celebrations. Banned by parliament in April 1644 it was decreed that "... all Maypoles that are or will be erected shall be taken down and removed by the constables". Fortunately, the restoration of Charles II was the signal for the revival of the Maypole legacy. On the very first day afterwards in 1661, the Maypole in the Strand was reared with great ceremony and rejoicing.

One historical account relates how the Maypole was drawn into the village square by eight oxen decorated with scarfs, ribbons and flowers; the foresters sounded their horns and the crowds expressed their pleasure by shouting incessantly until it reached the place assigned for its elevation.

The villagers adorned it with ribbons, garlands and flowers, and then it was raised to the cheers of the spectators when the woodmen and milkmaids danced around it paying tribute to archaic rituals and forgotten traditions.



This regular feature shows special items from members’ own collections. Submissions by email should include a scan of the item.