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"Bringing in the May" - the history and culture of the traditional English May Day

Bringing in the May!

May Day celebrations in England have a rich and diverse history. Strands of the festivals come from different pagan, polytheistic, and Christian traditions, all of which became mixed together over the years.

Different parts of England, and the British Isles as a whole, focus on different traditions.

This article looks at some of the diverse origins of May Day festivities, the traditions which arose from them, and May Day celebration in two particular English towns, Padstow in Cornwall, and Oxford in Oxfordshire.

May Day is joyous and fun, marking the end of the long, dark winter nights, and welcoming the new growth, the baby animals, and the growing season.

I hope that you too will enjoy Bringing in the May this spring!

English Spring time scenes

A wonderful carpet of bluebells in a wood in the Cotswolds, Glos. Copyright Nick Owen from Flickr

A wonderful carpet of bluebells in a wood in the Cotswolds, Glos. Copyright Nick Owen from Flickr

A young lamb in a field in Kent, in England. Copyright law_keven from Flickr.

A young lamb in a field in Kent, in England. Copyright law_keven from Flickr.


Beltane is the Gaelic name for both the month of May, and the festival of May Day.

Beltane was celebrated in Celtic areas of the British Isles, including Scotland, Ireland, the Isle of Man, Wales, and Cornwall.

Beltane marked the beginning of the summer season, and was celebrated at slightly different times across the Celtic world, depending exactly when summer was held to begin.

The word Beltane comes from two words and means fires of Bel. Bel was a Celtic God.

Fire was one of the most important aspects of the festival, and the Beltane spring festival was aimed at encouraging fields and crops and trees to produce well.

The fire was thought to cleanse, and purify the land before the coming of summer, and it was hoped it would also increase fertility.

Courting, wooing and relationships were a very big part of Beltane. Young men and women would frequently gather flowers and greenery before the evening, in order to decorate the celebration area.

Two fires were often lit, and cows led beween the two fires to encourage them to produce lots of milk, and good strong calves.

The Green Man is often associated with Beltane, and is a significant aspect of fertility. Green Man is still a very common name in England for pubs.

It was also common during Beltane for greenery to be hung over the doors and windows of houses, and either rowan or whitethorn to be entwined together to make wreaths.

Rowan and whitethorn were popular because they were frequently in bloom at the time, and whitethorn is also nicknamed as "maybush" or ""may" in English.

Maybushes, often now in churchyards, were decorated with coloured eggs, ribbons, and garlands.

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Thrimilci or Three Milks Month, Anglo-Saxon England

The pre-Christian Anglo-Saxon calendar had, like our modern calendar, twelve months.

The year began on our Christmas Eve. The fourth month in the year was Eostremonath, and the fifth month was called Thrimilci.

The calendar was divided into only two seasons, summer and winter, each containing six months.

The first summer month was Eostremonath, which got its name from the goddess celebrated during the month, Eostre, the goddess after whom Easter is named in English.

The fifth month, our May, was called Thrimilci, which means three milkings. This was owing to the fact that for the first time in the year, cows could be milked three times.

Most of what we know about Anglo-Saxon calendars and celebration was recorded by the Venerable Bede in the eighth century.

In many Saxon cultures, and it is believed in Anglo-Saxon communities in what is now England, the festival of Walpurgis or Thrimilci was celebrated between the 22nd April and the 1st May.

The festival celebrated started on April 22nd, and days between April 22nd and April 30th revered the wood tree.

On the ninth night, Walpurgisnacht, the God Odin held the runes, grasped them, and died for an instant and all light ended.

At the stroke of midnight, light returned, fires were lit, and the God regained life. On the 30th April, the dead rule the earth. It is similar to the festival of All Hallows Eve or Halloween, in modern Christian culture.

The name came from Saint Walpurga, born in about 700 in Devon in England.

In the same way that early Christianity adopted the festivals of Yule and Easter, it appears since Walpurga’s day was set to combine with the old north, Viking and Saxon feast.

May 1st was then the festival of Thrimilci, a day of festivity, fertility and the forthcoming summer.

In pagan Anglo-Saxon culture, May Day’s Eve marked the death and rebirth of Odin. Trees were an important part of the Anglo-Saxon celebration.

This was because during the nine days before Odin’s discovery of the runes, he was strongly associated with a tree, the world tree Yggdrasil. We do not know that much about how the Anglo-Saxons celebrated the 1st of May, although it does seem to have involved trees, greenery, and the celebration of forthcoming summer.

  • Floralia
    The history of Roman festival for the goddess Flora is described here.
  • Guide to Norse pagan holidays
    A description of the main Norse celebrations each year, including those at the start of May.
  • Pretanic World
    A fascinating website which covers all the pre-Roman cultures in the British Isles, including Celts, Druids, the Bronze Age, and Neolithic Man.

London Spring Flowers


Floralia - the festival of the Roman goddess Flora

In the pantheon of Roman gods and goddesses, Flora was the goddess of flowers and the season of spring. She was also associated with fertility.

Her yearly festival was called Floralia, and was held at the end of April and thebeginning of May. The festival lasted from April 27th to 3rd May and celebrated the cycle of life.

It was celebrated with dancing, colourful clothes, flowers, and the decking of temples with flowers. Roman prostitutes considered the goddess Flora to be their equivalent of a patron saint.

Ovid wrote:

You start in April and cross to the time of May

One has you as it leaves, one as it comes

Since the edges of these months are yours and defer

To you, either of them suits your praises.

The circus continues and the theatres lauded come,

Let this song, too, join the circus spectacle.

Flora had two temples in Rome, one close to the Circus Maximus, and the other halfway up Quirinal Hill.

The festival was infamous in Roman times for being one of debauchery, and was licentious.


The Catholic Church made another attempt to take over May celebrations, with Roodmas. Rood is an old English word for cross, as in rood screen in churches.

The "Mass of the Cross" or "Holy Cross Day" on the 1st May celebrates the discovery by St Helena, mother of the Roman Emperor Constantine, of the True Cross in Jerusalem in 355AD.

There is a similar cross mass on 3rd May, called "Crouchmas". This feast day has since been moved by the Catholic Church to September, to celebrate the actual day when St Helena is supposed to have found the true cross.

The Church's attitude to May Day

The church was never entirely sure about May celebrations, because they did have such pagan origins.

There is a record of priests complaining in 1240AD about May Day celebrations being pagan, and the church was frequently alarmed by maypoles and may dancing.

The fervent desire in the Middle Ages to associate May Day with the Virgin can be seen as a way of countering the superstitions and traditions attached to May Day celebrations.

The puritans in England banned May Day after the Civil War and execution of Charles the First, and, along with other festivals which were banned by the puritans such as Christmas Day, they were reinstituted with vigour by Charles the Second after the Restoration.

A video of the Rochester Sweeps May Day Festival

"Going-a-Maying" and "Bringing in the May"

Many of the traditions of May Day were set during the early Middle Ages, and were tolerated if not encouraged by the Catholic Church in England.

“Bringing in the May” meant getting up before dawn, washing hands and face in the dew to encourage beauty, and going out into the fields and woods to collect flowers and greenery to make into wreaths and garlands.

“Going-a-Maying” referred to going out into the woods and trees before May Day itself in order to collect flowers and greenery to weave into elaborate structures to be put around a maypole, or to decorate a church, or houses, on May Day itself.

This was slightly different from "bringing in the May" early on May Day itself, that involved more elaborate and beautiful garlands and wreaths.

English May Day celebrations

Dancing round the Maypole, copyright Ali Smiles :)

Dancing round the Maypole, copyright Ali Smiles :)

Children dancing round a Maypole in Lustleigh

The May Pole

The maypole is thought to come from the ancient Saxon, Viking and other pagan traditions involving the worshipping of trees. No-one is, however, entirely sure.

What is clear is that maypoles have been a crucial part of May Day celebrations for hundreds of years in England.

The maypole itself is a tall wooden pole which is either put up every year, or stands permanently on a village green.

There were many maypoles erected during the fifteenth century, and they were often a focus of inter-village rivalry and were stolen if possible.

The more puritanical brand of the Reformation of Christianity denounced maypoles, starting under Edward the Sixth. Mary the First, being Catholic, and Elizabeth the First, enjoying revelry, did not in any way ban maypoles themselves, but there was increasing local pressure to get rid of them.

The puritans got rid of them, describing maypoles as heathenish, superstitious, wicked, and vain.

Dancing round the maypole was either done casually, or there were also dances for sets of dancers who weave and un-weave ribbons tied to the top.

Dancers weave in and out of each other each holding a ribbon, so that as they continue around the pole, the ribbons are wrapped from the top of the pole to the bottom in what is supposed to be an attractive pattern.

May Queen and May King

There is a long tradition of crowning a May King and May Queen. Often these are held together, but if there is only one, it is more usual to have a Queen of May or a May Queen.

This is another ancient and heathen tradition which was adopted by the Roman Catholic Church, and on May 1st many Catholic parishes hold a May crowning, dedicated to Mary, Mother of Jesus.

It is suggested that the Queen of May tradition may come from the older Roman tradition of Diana, the hunter and goddess of beauty. The May Queen was usually chosen from the local young and unmarried women, and was crowned with the greenery collected the day before.

She was often accompanied by a Green Man, May King or Lord of May, who was in many festivals the equivalent of the Lord of Misrule during Christmas and would tell jokes and order the local worthies to undertake common tasks such as serving drinks or food to the common people.

Morris Dancers from Greenwich dancing in Diss, Norfolk

Morris Dancing

A very important part of May Day celebrations involves Morris dancing. This is a kind of rhythmic dancing involving flags, sticks and handkerchiefs being waved around.

Morris dancers frequently wear bells especially on their feet, so that when they are dancing in step the bells ring out in unison.

Morris dancing was done around the calendar in England, but was particularly common on May Day and at Whitsun, both May holidays.

There has been an increasing interest in Morris dancing since the revival by the arts and crafts movement in the late nineteenth century.

The musical accompaniment is most commonly provided by a melodeon, but can also be a violin, pipe, or accordion. Drums are also fairly popular.

English May Day festivals

Jack in the Green, or the Green Man

Jack in the Green is a character who takes place in May Day dances and May Day parades.

Jack is a man substantially covered in greenery, made from garlands of flowers and boughs of trees.

It was essentially a medieval character, and decorations got more and more elaborate until no man could actually be seen under the forest of greenery through which he danced.

Jack O Greens were discouraged during Victorian times, because there were traditions of him chasing women and being seen as drunk.

There has been a revival of Jacks in the Green in the last few decades in England. Whitstable and Rochester, both in Kent, are perhaps the best known modern examples of Jacks in the Green on May Day parades.

May Day horse parade

Horse parades were also popular on May Day in the past, and to a lesser extent, today.

Horses were decorated with garlands of ribbons and flowers, and paraded through villages and around the countryside in order to encourage the health of the horses, and the fertility of crops and fields.

Although an English-wide custom, this was particularly popular in northern England.

Oxford May Day celebrations

May Day floral wreaths from "Bringing in the May" copyright Matthias Rosenkranz

May Day floral wreaths from "Bringing in the May" copyright Matthias Rosenkranz

Oxford May Day parade copyright Matthias Rosenkranz

Oxford May Day parade copyright Matthias Rosenkranz

May Day in Oxford

May Morning is held in Oxford every May Day.

It starts at six o’clock in the morning with the Magdalen College Choir singing songs and hymns, starting with the "Hymnus Eucharisticus" from the top of Magdalen Tower.

This is a tradition which has been going on for at least 500 years. There is then a street party including dancing, especially Morris dancing.

For the last 30 or 40 years, students have decided to jump off Magdalen Bridge. This is something the authorities do their best to discourage, because the water is fairly shallow, and it does people a great deal of harm.

A longer tradition involves university students punting along the river instead, in punts decorated with flowers.

There are frequently June balls held the night before in Oxford, so many attenders at May morning will still be in black or white tie, and have been up all night celebrating.

Cornwall's May Day

The Penzance 'obby 'oss 'Penglaz' at the quay, copyright Purely Penzance

The Penzance 'obby 'oss 'Penglaz' at the quay, copyright Purely Penzance

Padstow May Day, copyright Saffron Walden Snapper

Padstow May Day, copyright Saffron Walden Snapper

Padstow's 'Obby 'Oss May Day

Padstow, a seaside town on the northern shore of Cornwall, celebrates ‘Obby ‘Oss day on the 1st May.

No-one knows precisely when the festival started, although there are references to it as far back as the 1500s.

The festival starts at midnight on the 1st May with singing groups around the town, and the buildings of the town are decorated with greenery, flowers, and ribbons, there is a large maypole, and groups of dancers go around the town.

The centre of each group is a horse, or a hobbyhorse. The horses, people dressed up with masks and flags, dance around the town with their groups of human dancers, and end up dancing around the maypole later in the day.

There are similar hobbyhorse festivals in other parts of Devon and Cornwall, including Penzance, but the Padstow is the best documented and best known of the ‘Obby ‘Oss days.

The flowers which decorate Padstow are numerous, but particularly common are cowslips, bluebells, and forget-me-nots.


Sid Kemp from Boca Raton, Florida (near Miami and Palm Beach) on April 11, 2013:

Thank you for a beautiful in-depth history of May Day. And I love the word "thrimilki"! Voted up and Awesome.

Joey from Michigan on August 08, 2011:

Interesting hub with nice pics. :)

andii on March 14, 2011:

thank you so much for this hub. really interesting.

Daniel Belize on August 14, 2010:

Fascinating information I didn't know about my own country's traditions. Great hub.

Georgina Crawford from Dartmoor on June 11, 2010:

Really lovely hub.

Vina on April 27, 2010:

Our SCA group are holding a May festival(slightly late,but still...)so this has been great for research :)

It's spelt Bealtaine(bal-tin-ya,literally translates as Bel's Fire)in Irish Gaelic,but the traditions are all the same.It's seeing a great revival here as well,with one major festival with a huge bonfire every year and lots more minor ones across the country.

L M Reid from Ireland on April 06, 2010:

Thanks for such an interesting hub. Love reading about history and the traditions that explains why we do things today. Will be reading more of your work soon. Thanks again

LondonGirl (author) from London on March 19, 2010:

I'm glad you enjoyed it.

gramarye from Adelaide - Australia on March 19, 2010:

I loved this hub - anything to do with may day!

LondonGirl (author) from London on June 02, 2009:

Glad you liked it! I did mention Rochester's as well, and provided a link, perhaps I should add more detail.

Whitstable Views from Whitstable, UK on May 30, 2009:

Hi LondonGirl, I see Whitstable gets a mention in here, although I have to say the Rochester festivities are much more spectacular. I managed to miss both this year, though I got as far as the Robin Hood pub on Bluebell hill outside Rochester in time to celebrate Robin Hood's Day, also May 1st.

LondonGirl (author) from London on April 14, 2009:

Sounds fun, glad you enjoyed it! Where did you attend the festival?

Dolores Monet from East Coast, United States on April 10, 2009:

last year I attended a festival where they did the Maypole thing and it was so cool, the dance was very pretty and the pole, when woven with ribbons was gorgeous

LondonGirl (author) from London on March 28, 2009:

Both Glastonbury and Avebury are wonderful places - I've visited both (never at that specific time, though) and they are special.

Steve Andrews from Lisbon, Portugal on March 28, 2009:

I have to admit I miss Beltane in Britain. I always used to go to Avebury for the Gorsedd of Bards of Caer Abiri. I have also spent Beltane at Glastonbury Tor and seen the dawn rise with Morris dancers dancing on the tor and a silver sea of cloud over the vale of Avalon below.

LondonGirl (author) from London on March 27, 2009:

glad you enjoyed it! May Day is a blend of the two, and I'm glad that comes across.

pjdscott from Durham, UK on March 27, 2009:

A great hub - quality research and well written. I liked the balance you achieved between pagan and Christian rituals...

Lgali on March 25, 2009:

Very interesting Hub

GoldenKeys1 from Florida on March 23, 2009:

This is such a great hub!!! I love the beautiful pictures and information given.

LondonGirl (author) from London on March 22, 2009:

Very unwise of you Chris - you're encouraging me, and I might take you up on it and do another hub!

Glad you liked it.

Christoph Reilly from St. Louis on March 22, 2009:

We supposedly have the may pole celebrations here - though I never saw one - but beyond that I knew nothing of these May Day celebrations. Thank you for an in depth look at the various English traditions - which I LOVE to learn about!

LondonGirl (author) from London on March 19, 2009:

thanks - I'm glad you enjoyed reading it.

mulberry1 on March 19, 2009:

Nice reading, I love reading about history and culture. The pictures alone make this a worthy of a visit!

LondonGirl (author) from London on March 18, 2009:

it's really quite good fun - I did some maypole dancing as child (badly) and going out to collect flowers early in the morning with my Dad, too.

JennifersJumpers on March 18, 2009:

Thanks for explaining a holiday that I have heard about but never really understood.

LondonGirl (author) from London on March 17, 2009:

how very kind! I'm glad you enjoyed it. I think you are right, I should do a hub on Celts.

I think your writing is fantastic, by the way. Is English one of your native languages? I know quite a few Indians have English-medium education

countrywomen from Washington, USA on March 17, 2009:

LG- Yes I always enjoyed History when I was in school. You probably can write a good hub about celtic history. Sometimes history only mentions the victories leaders like  Julies caesar or Alexander but little mention is made about those they defeated. I have always been fascinated about the other side(the little known part of history). You have a very good objective style of writing with appropriate pictures too. I am so fortunate to know about so many things and meet so many wonderful writers like yourself here at hubpages.

LondonGirl (author) from London on March 17, 2009:

I'm glad you enjoyed it - the Labour aspect is a much later addition, and adding it would have made things far too long.

The Druids were Celts - and not just priests, they were the ruling class, and did everything, religion, teaching, medicine, the lot.

countrywomen from Washington, USA on March 17, 2009:

LG- I really learned a lot about May day. Actually May 1st is my parents wedding anniversary too and which happens to be the International Labour day holiday.

When you mentioned about Green Man and Pagan traditions I actually remembered a bit from our world history class where we did read about the pagans (druids in celtic tradition) who were pushed from france to UK and later to Ireland by the Invading Roman soldiers under Julies Caesar. And then when I used to read Asterix comics the mention of Gauls (French) by Romans as barbarians did make some sense too...LOL

Recently I read in Misty's hub about Pagan religion and I was surprised to know that Pagan traditions (religion) are still practiced in many places today. Thumbs up for a nice history class.

LondonGirl (author) from London on March 17, 2009:

Hi Eye - spring is definintely springing in London. It's still quite chilly at night, but at 9.30am now, it's sunny and the sun finally has some warmth in it! A predicted high today of about 12 degrees C / 55 F or so.

HI Elena - no reason at all for you to feel ignorant! For a start, you speak fantastic English, and it's not even your native language (-:

HI Shalini - I've never been to an Oxford June Ball, but I've been a couple of times to the St. John's College, Cambridge one. They are amazing events.

Shalini Kagal from India on March 16, 2009:

Loved this hub and all the information LondonGirl! I enjoyed the excitement of Oxford's May Day a long time ago.

Elena. from Madrid on March 16, 2009:

LG - This wonderful hub, filled with so much information, makes me fel a bit ignorant. Shesh, we're practically neighbors and I didn't know (had NO idea) of half the things you describe about English traditions!

On another note... Good morning, spring is in the air! Temperature in Madrid has been going around 25 degrees for the past three days :-)  Not sure it'll last, we'll probably see it dipping again, but for now I'm a happy camper!

Kelly W. Patterson from Las Vegas, NV. on March 16, 2009:

The 60s = winter in Vegas.    

Sheila from The Other Bangor on March 16, 2009:

OK -- my hub now sports a link to this one, and to Laila's dope-fiend hub. I think it's in very good company.

mysticdave from Salt Lake City, Utah on March 16, 2009:

Very interesting Hub, i really enjoyed reading it and learning from it:)

LondonGirl (author) from London on March 16, 2009:

HI Teresa - your hub definitely deserves lots of links, it's great.

LondonGirl (author) from London on March 16, 2009:

Hi Robie - May baskets are quite common in the SW of England, you are right. I didn't have time or energy to put in all the customs around the country, my bad!

LondonGirl (author) from London on March 16, 2009:

Hi Iphigenia - spring is definitely sprung here, too, but it's not 19 degrees yet!

LondonGirl (author) from London on March 16, 2009:

Hi Pam - my Dad's a serious veg and fruit grower - both my parents together, really. They have a large veggie patch, and last year grew sweetcorn, runner beans, French beans, dwarf beans, 5 different types of squash, 2 types of tomatoes, 4 types of corgettes, red and green cabbages, 2 types of pumpkin, cumcumbers, radishes, 3 types of carrots, lettuce, beetroot, onions, garlic, new potatoes, and probably some other stuff I've forgotten about. It's all wonderful, particularly for those of us who get a shedload of the stuff, free!

My mother and brother replanted the orchard about 5 years ago now, with 100 trees, all different types of apples, pears, and plums, I think.

My mother also has a herb garden.

It's a great thing to do. Do you have or need a greenhouse?

pgrundy on March 16, 2009:

Both planting and maintaining! I want to put in a couple of pear trees this year and some flowers. We have a patch out back for corn, beans, and squash, and this year we'll add another in front for tomatoes, peppers, peas, and melons. Last year I put in two apples that look pretty happy, but they always need to be sprayed with something or the other--it's never ending, but worth it.

Sheila from The Other Bangor on March 16, 2009:

Thanks for the link -- what a nice idea! I'm going straight to mine to do likewise -- great idea!

Roberta Kyle from Central New Jersey on March 16, 2009:

Kudos LondonGirl-- I really liked this one--filled with interesting facts and tidbits--some quite new to me. I remember as a young child making "May baskets" out of heavy colored paper, filling them with candy and flowers and giving them to people. Don't know where this custom came from originally. I did it with my mother and grandmother in Salina Kansas LOL--but my grandmother's people came originally from Devon so maybe it is an English custom--dunno. Anyway, really enjoyed the historical round up of the overlap of the holidays in various religions and cultures. Thrimilci doesn't actually sound so different from three milk does it? quite amazing how custome and language persist and evolve down through centuries of change-- oh yes, and I remember in grade school maypoles being set up in the gym and having to learn this elaborite dance where we ended up winding all the ribbons around the pole. I was a disaster at it LOL

Iphigenia on March 16, 2009:

A great lunchtime read - thanks. It's 19°C here and decidegly spring like. My sap is rising ...oooo-er ....

LondonGirl (author) from London on March 16, 2009:

glad you enjoyed it! Hope the gardening goes well. Are you planting or maintaining?

pgrundy on March 16, 2009:

Oh I love this stuff! What an exhaustive and excellent hub. Thank you for writing it. Already I feel some spring fever coming on--It was in the 60s here yesterday, the first warm day since last September. I took the dog on 45 minute walk, it was heavenly. If the weather holds I'll get out and do some yard work this week. :o)

LondonGirl (author) from London on March 16, 2009:

Hi Bristol boy - thank you very much - I enjoyed writing it.

LondonGirl (author) from London on March 16, 2009:

Hi Princessa - I'm glad you found it interesting!

Jama - you should go to Oxford for May Day, for sure. Oxford and Cambridge June Balls are also amazing (held in May) but you can't just go to them, you need to be connected to a college.

2patricias - not a bad idea! I do have a queue of to-get-done hubs, though (-:

BristolBoy from Bristol on March 16, 2009:

An extremely well written and comprehensive hub. We had Morris Dancers in our town the other day - quite a sight!

2patricias from Sussex by the Sea on March 16, 2009:

What a wonderful Hub. You've really done a good job with photos and links. How about a hub on well dressing?

Joanna McKenna from Central Oklahoma on March 16, 2009:

One of these years I'll make it to Oxford for May Day. (sigh) Lovely hub, LG. Very informative. Many things I didn't know about. Thanks!

Wendy Iturrizaga from France on March 16, 2009:

Great hub. I do love all the traditions and history behind May Day festivities. I think it should be shared more often all the richness behind the celebrations, as most people is unaware of their rich past. thumbs up!

LondonGirl (author) from London on March 15, 2009:

Hi Maria - glad you enjoyed it and found it interesting.

Tony - roughly where was your mother from?

Tony (Poddys) on March 15, 2009:

Great hub, this is what pages should look like!

My Mum was May Queen once in the small village she grew up in. I have several photos of it from the 1920's.

Jethro Tull also did a great song about "Jack In The Green".

Maria on March 15, 2009:

Great hub! very interesting information about traditions.

LondonGirl (author) from London on March 15, 2009:

Not part of the English May Day!

If I'd added any more, it would've been even more too long....

Kelly W. Patterson from Las Vegas, NV. on March 15, 2009:

Don't forget to fly the black flag for the Haymarket Martyrs.

LondonGirl (author) from London on March 15, 2009:

yes, and I meant to link to your wonderful hub about it - now done!

Sheila from The Other Bangor on March 15, 2009:

I think there is nothing quite as Monty-pythonesque as Morris dancing. Although traditional Irish dancing (arms held down at the sides) is very very weird. I see you've been consulting the Venereal Bede --

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