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The first day of May marks a celebration in the UK, the arrival of spring. It’s known as a public holiday (or bank holiday) which is normally observed on the first Monday in May. This is so that people could go out and celebrate the day by enjoying it in the gorgeous weather. The tradition is said to have originated as a pagan Roman festival celebrating the arrival of warmer days.

Traditional May Day activities include Morris Dancing, which is a folk dance. It is said

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the dance is done to banish the dark Winter and celebrate the warmth and fertility of Spring and Summer. The music is made by an accordion, a fiddle, a fife (a flute), and drums. Special costumes are worn along with bell pads on the shins. Some wear tatter jackets or wear white with colored belts, or baldrics, on their chests.The Morris Dance involves rhythmic dancing and choreography. Morris dancing varies on the region, whether you are in the North West or Cotswolds or the Welsh Border, but in recent years, Morris Dancing has made it to the US. The dance is done from California to New York with its popularity growing each year.

Another May Day dance is the Maypole dance, which is done with a pole beautifully decorated with a garland and colorful ribbons. There are two forms of the dance. One is circle dancing around the pole. The other dance is taking a ribbon from the Maypole and dancing around in a circle, creating a braid on the pole as they dance. The dance is not only popular in the UK but also Germany and Sweden, as well.

Many towns and cities hold a May Day festival each year with its own Morris dancing and Maypole dancing, as well as food and flowers. Flower wreaths are made and a May Queen is crowned while you may see a Green Man, representing Spring, walking about town.

-CD

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