So it’s nearly May Day.
Another mixed up, modern day excuse for a knees up.
May Day, like most festivals in 21st century Britain, has a bit of an identity crisis. It’s not quite sure what it is anymore and doesn’t really know what to do with itself.
It wants to put on a pretty frock, wear a floral crown and frolic around a maypole on the village green performing a ritualistic dance of summer, fertility and joy.
On the other hand – it is also an anarchist bent on overthrowing the canons of capitalism; a proletarian revolt against exploitation of ‘the workers’ and a rampage through the streets in an uproarious celebration of temporary mayhem.
It seems that in the 21st century we have to choose which side we’re on. Floral dress and crown- or hoody and bandana?
Shall I frolic – or rampage?
Am I joyful or angry?
And why can’t I be both?
In the past ordinary folk, like me, were allowed to do both. To be both. May Day, and similar festivities were all about breaking the rules, fools were crowned, and the authorities were mocked as the world was turned upside down for a day.
At what point in the civilising process did we lose our identity? When did we lose our sense of humour – and the strength to uphold our traditions?
At the turn of the 21st century when an ex soldier was jailed for decorating Churchill’s statue with a green turf Mohican it signalled how insecure as a nation we have become. We take ourselves so seriously now we deny all our weaknesses. We are so self-conscious, and self-policing, we don’t allow ourselves to make mistakes, say the wrong thing occasionally, get drunk and cavort outrageously. It can’t be healthy to be so civilised.
So this May Day I’ll put on the crown….then I’ll open a can of larger and swear at the 10 o’clock news.
If you’d like to join in my armchair revelry, here’s how to make the pretty floral crown.
You will need:
- A few lengths of natural raffia. (around 12)
- Some freshly cut flowers. (nothing too ostentatious….just a few sprigs of whatever you can find growing nearby)
You’ll need to secure your work – I’m quite happy to stick pins in my furniture – you might not be.
Gather your raffia and begin by tying a loop at one end – leave the ends nice and long.
Check the length of the plait and when it’s long enough to go around your head thread the ends through the loop and secure in a knot. If you knot it fairly loosely you’ll be able to undo it if you need to adjust the size.
Trim your flowers and poke the stems through the plait. Use additional lengths of raffia to
I wanted to photograph the crown on my resident 10 year old May Queen ………but…..
“I’m not wearing THAT.” Stomp stomp stomp. SLAM.
Hoorah! The spirit of protest is alive and kicking in our house.