Alphadictionary.com

Our Sponsors

Technical Translation
Website Translation Clip Art
 

Maypole

Use this forum to discuss past Good Words.

Maypole

Postby Dr. Goodword » Tue Apr 30, 2013 10:46 pm

• Maypole •


Pronunciation: may-pol • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: A tall pole that stands in the center of town or that is erected annually, around which people dance on May 1st. Traditionally, the top of the pole contains flowers and draped from its pinnacle are many ribbons or flower chains. The dance involves a circle of alternating boys and girls who dance in opposite directions while holding the ribbons, braiding the ribbon down the pole. In some Germanic countries the ribbons are omitted or are painted on the pole, which is also decorated with flowers, flags, and other local symbols.

Notes: The Maypole and the Maypole dance go far back into Germanic pagan history. Both were part of the celebration of the Celtic holiday Beltane at the beginning of Celtic summer, which lasted until Samhain, November 1. The dance, the pole, and the virgin selected as May Queen to walk in front of the May Day procession—all originated in pagan fertility rites that may go back to the ancient Babylonians.

In Play: The erection of the Maypole on May 1st is aptly named since many consider it a male symbol that is, in the course of the dance, covered with feminine flowers and ribbons. May Day more recently, of course, has been preempted by the socialist parties around the world as International Labor Day, and is celebrated as such in most countries.

Word History: The first of today's two Good Words is May, the name of the month. It comes from the name of the Roman goddess of spring, Maia. Simple enough: May Day celebrates the return of spring. The goddess's name is based on a root responsible for English majesty, from Latin maiestas "greatness, authority", as well as major and mayor. The root of Maia's name is probably related to English may and might. It certainly is shared by the Sanskrit word maha(t) "great" found in maharaja "great king", mahatma "great spirit" (Gandhi), and maharishi "great seer".
• The Good Dr. Goodword
User avatar
Dr. Goodword
Site Admin
 
Posts: 3597
Joined: Wed Feb 02, 2005 9:28 am
Location: Lewisburg, PA

Re: Maypole or Axis Mundi

Postby MTC » Wed May 01, 2013 8:43 am

Maypole has such a pleasant ring. But if spring came in February instead of May... well, never mind.

My researches (a few key strokes to Wikipedia) show "some scholars classify maypoles as symbols of the world axis (axis mundi)." At the axis mundi heaven and earth are said to intersect. I have had the opportunity to vist a modern evocation of the axis mundi-- the Taipei 101 Buliding in Taiwan. Somewhat disappointingly, I did not see any Taiwanese children romping merrily around the tower while they towed multi-colored ribbons suspended from the 101st floor. But maybe if I returned on May 1st...
Last edited by MTC on Wed May 01, 2013 3:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.
MTC
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 1071
Joined: Mon Apr 05, 2010 11:40 am
Location: Pasadena

Re: Maypole

Postby LukeJavan8 » Wed May 01, 2013 11:33 am

Many ancient cultures erected poles to represent
the center of the earth, where the gods created
them, etc.; to wit: Sundance.
It is snowing here today: no Maypole Dances.
-----please, draw me a sheep-----
User avatar
LukeJavan8
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 3523
Joined: Fri Oct 09, 2009 6:16 pm
Location: Land of the Flat Water

Re: Maypole

Postby Perry Lassiter » Wed May 01, 2013 1:21 pm

Gee, axis mundi!!! And all along my dirty mind has been contemplating the Freudian implications. BTW, in that context, does one capitalize Freudian?
pl
Perry Lassiter
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 2485
Joined: Wed Jan 03, 2007 12:41 pm
Location: RUSTON, LA

Re: Maypole

Postby MTC » Wed May 01, 2013 3:42 pm

Give Freud his due. Capitalize Freudian.

Here's an answer to the general question by someone online who apparently knows what he is talking about:

"I'd keep the capital in almost all cases where the adjective is derived from someone's name. Witness Jeffersonian vs Hamiltonian democracy, Rabelaisian humour, Juvenalian satire, Shakespearean and Petrarchan sonnets, Rubenesque women, Shavian wit, and the lines in My Fair Lady: 'She'll have a large, Wagnerian mother / With a voice that shatters glass!'"

(http://www.democraticunderground.com/di ... 05x6990453)

As for the high-toned "axis mundi," just give it a spin and "phallic symbol" turns up.
Last edited by MTC on Wed May 01, 2013 11:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.
MTC
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 1071
Joined: Mon Apr 05, 2010 11:40 am
Location: Pasadena

Re: Maypole

Postby LukeJavan8 » Wed May 01, 2013 5:00 pm

Mtcian Apocalypse?
-----please, draw me a sheep-----
User avatar
LukeJavan8
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 3523
Joined: Fri Oct 09, 2009 6:16 pm
Location: Land of the Flat Water

Re: Maypole

Postby gailr » Wed May 01, 2013 8:11 pm

Both were part of the celebration of the Celtic god Beltane at the beginning of Celtic summer, which lasted until Samhain, November 1.
The only thing I'll add is that Beltane and Samhain are the names of holidays, not deities.
User avatar
gailr
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 1945
Joined: Tue Mar 15, 2005 11:40 am

Re: Maypole

Postby call_copse » Thu May 02, 2013 5:04 am

MTC wrote:...
As for the high-toned "axis mundi," just give it a spin and "phallic symbol" turns up.


Debased mind or not I've always associated the axis mundi phrase more with the feminine, remembering the Greek omphalos or navel 'point of beginning' (not that I have any general knowledge of Greek). I can see why you would go phallic if getting there from Maypole though.

I do remember my own Maypole dancing days with great fondness in any case. Simple, happy times, wheeling around with classmates.
Iain
User avatar
call_copse
Lexiterian
 
Posts: 309
Joined: Fri Nov 20, 2009 7:42 am
Location: Southampton

Re: Maypole

Postby MTC » Thu May 02, 2013 11:42 am

Cerebrating about the meaning of a sexually-charged word like "maypole" really misses the mark, doesn't it? (Sunday Schoolers should debark the bus here.) The ancients must have churned with sexual energy as they emerged from a dark, bone-chilling winter, knowing they might not live to see another spring in their short, forty odd years on the planet. Time to join with all creation and bloom! Ecstasy doesn't translate particularly well on the page. Luckily for me, I've had my share, and lived to tell about it.
MTC
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 1071
Joined: Mon Apr 05, 2010 11:40 am
Location: Pasadena

Re: Maypole

Postby LukeJavan8 » Thu May 02, 2013 12:52 pm

Spring??
We had four inches of snow last night, temp is 34 deg.
-----please, draw me a sheep-----
User avatar
LukeJavan8
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 3523
Joined: Fri Oct 09, 2009 6:16 pm
Location: Land of the Flat Water

Re: Maypole

Postby MTC » Thu May 02, 2013 1:03 pm

Now is the winter of our discontent.
MTC
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 1071
Joined: Mon Apr 05, 2010 11:40 am
Location: Pasadena

Re: Maypole

Postby LukeJavan8 » Thu May 02, 2013 1:24 pm

Where's your empathy?
-----please, draw me a sheep-----
User avatar
LukeJavan8
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 3523
Joined: Fri Oct 09, 2009 6:16 pm
Location: Land of the Flat Water

Re: Maypole

Postby MTC » Thu May 02, 2013 4:17 pm

On ice apparently.

The quotation is a bit warmer in context:

Now is the winter of our discontent
Made glorious summer by this sun of York;
And all the clouds that lour'd upon our house
In the deep bosom of the ocean buried.

P.S.

It just occurred to me you might be serious. If you are indeed cold and miserable, Luke, then I hope you warm up. The weather is bound to change for the better.
MTC
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 1071
Joined: Mon Apr 05, 2010 11:40 am
Location: Pasadena

Re: Maypole

Postby LukeJavan8 » Sun May 05, 2013 11:25 am

Oh, I was serious. But not in a way to be discourteous -
our Spring is terrible. Had 3 inches of snow a couple
days ago, when we are supposed to be in the 70's.
Temp is 37 right now. Tulips look weird with snow
all around them.

Of course we have had lots of rain and it has helped
decrease the drought we have been in since last year
at this time. We were in D4 last year, now where I
live it is D0, and hopefully we are out of drought for
awhile:

http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/

<><>
-----please, draw me a sheep-----
User avatar
LukeJavan8
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 3523
Joined: Fri Oct 09, 2009 6:16 pm
Location: Land of the Flat Water


Return to Good Word Discussion

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests