Wedding traditions offer richness and color to enrich your wedding ceremony and transform your life! And what’s even more fun is that they can be customized to suit your life.
Consider the maypole. Despite its name, it can be appropriately danced during two full wedding seasons: late spring and early summer! (It’s a little too cold earlier in spring and the warm weather later in the year makes us a little too sluggish for all of these exercises!)
What is its traditional meaning? Fertility! Old northern European traditions weren’t subtle. Spring came and they felt they needed to remind the world to wake up and do what it took to do. Fertility was one of the most important things for a village to survive. 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 forage / gather more food and child mortality was around 50 percent.
But what does that mean for you? Fertility, of course, if you want to. There’s this high pole and layers of people dancing, wrapping the pole and unpacking. (wink, wink, nudge, nudge!) But it doesn’t take much imagination to see that it can also mean the layers of love a community includes a beloved couple in.
- A dance master: Somebody should know what’s going on and how to conduct it!
- A wide open space: If you want to involve your entire community, you need to have plenty of space under the ribbons for the first two groups to dance.
- A tall (very tall) bar: If you want to have three layers of dancers, the bar must be long and well attached to the base.
- Pole decoration: The bar should be decorated at the top. If you have a symbol that you will use for your wedding include this one. Make a wreath out of wedding flowers. The bride and groom could wear a smaller version of this wreath.
- Three layers of tapes: The outermost and most common number of bands would be the community bands. The second layer of ribbons, a little further down the bar, would be the companion ribbons. The third layer only has two ribbons for the couple.
- Really very long tapes: They must be at least twice as long as the pole or the point where they are attached to the pole. You may want them longer than usual because you want them to have many ends when they are tied off so they can tumble down the bar. They should only be two or three inches wide.
- Decorate the ribbons: You can decorate the ribbons with bells so that the wonderful sound (of fairy laughter!) Sounds as the dance is woven.
- The community move forward to take their ligaments and then move back into the circle, keeping their ligaments at shoulder level.
- The companions Gather their ribbons and move out as far as their streamers take them up.
- The couple enter the circle and pick up their (different colored) ribbons. The music starts and points in different directions. One partner goes counterclockwise (often the woman) and the other goes into the sun. The couple then wrap, wrap, and then wrap their pole and move to an old folk song or a morris dance song. They weave over and under each other’s head, twisting one at a time to get the right pattern.
- When the bar is wrapped in bridal ribbons and the couple are close enough to the bar to hug each other. The companions then begin their dance around the pole. Wrapping and unpacking and rewrapping. Weave over and under. Your ribbons should have different colors than those of the bride and groom so that the symbolism of the community begins.
- When the companions stand in a tight circle around the bride and groomThe community then begins weaving and weaving. You may just want to weave 4 turns and then weave 4 turns off and then weave to the end.
- When the community has woven itself around the companion and the coupleshould offer a blessing to the wedding reception. The dance master should then tie the ribbons, starting with the outermost circle, while the community sends silent blessings to the couple.
You may have too many people to do this well. In this case, you can choose a smaller number of community members to wrap the bar. But this carefree dance can add so much color to your wedding ceremony, support your marriage vows, and celebrate your marriage. (Oh, if you’re claustrophobic, don’t!) Try something new and enjoy! Your community wants to have a good time at your wedding. Why not leave And then, because you have the materials, use them at the next couple’s wedding or bridal shower! Save it for a couple trying to get pregnant. Reuse, recycle, revise and rededicate!