Sunday, May 1, 2011
The May Day Carol
It was of old a tradition to go to the woods on a May Eve, and through the night gather greenery for the adornment of the celebration of May Day. The opportunity of being out in the woods at night was taken advantage of by the young , and many a maid left home that came back never a maid again, having gotten her "green gown" rolling in the grass. But in the morning the May would be brought in and used to decorate the celebration: May poles, of course, and the carrying of the May Queen (in older times a fabulously bedecked doll, and later a pretty girl). For singing the carol, showing the May Queen, and leaving a branch of green, the singers expected a little reward, like carollers at Christmas. Dew gathered on a May morning was said to be good for eye troubles, especially dew obtained at dawn in a churchyard from the newest grave. The May Carol has many versions; Loreena Mckennitt adapted it for her song "The Mummer's Dance."