The Great Festival of May

Windows into History

"Raising the Maypole" by Frederick Goodall, 1855. “Raising the Maypole” by Frederick Goodall, 1855.

Snippets 68A Country Book: for the field, the forest, and the fireside by William Howitt was published in 1859.  This charming book contains one chapter per month, each focussing on country life at the relevant time of the year. You can read more quotes from this book about November in Snippets 38, January in Snippets 51 and April in Snippets 61. For this snippet let’s look at Howitt’s thoughts on the month of May, a month he felt was full of joy and free from care:

Go out all ye who can into the country and see the great festival of May! See the village greens, where the maypoles once collected about them all the population of the place to rejoice. See the woods to which the young people used to go out before daylight, a-maying. See the fields…

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