Yes, May Day was observed throughout the Tudor era, complete with May Poles, Morris Dancing, and other celebrations. The observance is an ancient one, dating back well before the Tudors of the sixteenth century. It became less popular during the period of Puritan ascendancy in the middle of the seventeenth century, but managed to survive.
Anatomy of Abuses (1583)by Philip Stubbes goes into some detail on Mayday. Stubbes was a Puritan and described the May Pole as a "stinking idol". He estimated that of the young women who spent the night in the woods, not a third remained virgins. Of course he also believed that many Roman Catholic practices were "pagan". Still, he has some colorful details about the May Pole being brought into the village by twenty yoke of oxen, and decorated with ribbons and strings. Illustrations of the period show the top of the May Pole surrounded by a wreath or "May Crown", probably a symbol of female energy as the Pole was of male energy.
Also see 'Music and Poetry In the Early Tudor Court' (John Stevens) for lots of info on Mayings and May-games.I have "Now is the month of Maying" by Thomas Morely (1567?-1602) stuck in my head now... http://blowthyhorn.com/choralMusicEditions/now_is_the_month/now_is_the_month_of_maying.pdf
thanks to you all thought it would be those peskey puritans that tryed to get rid off it glad they didn't. I was working this May day so didn't get out to see any of the dancing.Its funny how you look at life when you know how old some of our traditions are.Love the music website have add it to fav's its good that it puts the dates on.Lady Hobby
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