Wedding traditions offer richness and color to enrich your wedding ceremony and to transform your life! And what’s more fun is that they can be remade to suit your life.
Consider the maypole. Despite its name, it can be appropriately danced during two whole wedding seasons: late spring and early summer! (it’s a little too cold earlier in the spring and the warm weather later in the year makes us just a bit too indolent for all that exercise!)
What is its traditional meaning? Fertility! Ancient Northern European traditions were not subtle. Spring came and they felt they needed to remind the world to wake up and do what was needed. Fertility was one of the most important things to the survival of a village. They danced the maypole in the fields, because they needed the fields to be fertile. They needed their families to be fertile because large families could gather/raise more food and the child mortality rate hovered at about 50 percent.
But what does it mean to you? Well certainly fertility if you want. There is that tall pole and layers of people dancing, wrapping and unwrapping the pole. (wink, wink, nudge, nudge!) But it doesn’t take much imagination to see that it might also mean the layers of love within which a community enfolds a beloved couple.
- A dance master: Someone should know what’s going on and how to direct it!
- A wide open space: If you’re going to involve your entire community, you must have a lot of room under the ribbons for the first two groups to dance.
- A tall (very tall) pole: if you’re going to have three layers of dancers, the pole needs to be long and it needs to be well secured at the base.
- Pole Decoration: The pole should be decorated at the top. If you have a symbol that you’re using for your wedding include that. Make a wreath of wedding flowers. The bride and groom might wear a smaller version of that wreath.
- Three layers of ribbons: The outermost and most abundant number of ribbons would be the community’s ribbons. The second layer of ribbons, somewhat further down the pole, would be the attendants’ ribbons. The third layer has only two ribbons for the couple.
- Really, really long ribbons: They need to be at least 2x as long as the pole or the place they are tethered on the pole. You may want them longer than usual because you want them to have lots of ends left when they are tied off so they can cascade down the pole. They should only be two or three inches wide.
- Decorate the ribbons: You may decorate the ribbons with bells so that there is the wonderful sound (of fairy laughter!) with the weaving of the dance.
- The community moves forward to take their ribbons and then move back into the circle, holding their ribbons at shoulder height.
- The attendants gather up their