How To Make A Maypole For May Day

A view of the top of a Maypole during a Spring May Day celebration.

A view of the top of a Maypole during a Spring May Day celebration.

This Sunday is May Day and we’re excited to share with you a little about the holiday’s history as well as how to celebrate it. One of the most well-known may day activities is the maypole dance. So, we’ll go over how you can DIY your own maypole.

The History of May Day

Before you ask —  the answer is no, May Day has nothing to do with the well-known distress call used around the world. Instead, May Day is a combination of two celebrations. People in European countries use the day as a celebration of the return of spring.  It was originally a part of Celtic celebrations and eventually merged with Roman’s spring festival of Floralia. People celebrate by making flower crowns, gifting friends and neighbors baskets of flowers and treats, or with a maypole dance.

May Day and The Maypole Dance

The region that invented the maypole dance is unknown. But wherever it came from, it is an especially fun tradition. The maypole dance involves dancing in a circle around a tall pole with colorful ribbons and streamers attached. The dancers braid the ribbons around the pole by crisscrossing one another or ducking under each other as they move around the circle. That sounds like fun, right. So, let’s make one.

Maypole Supplies

To make your colorful maypole you’ll need the following materials:

  • drill
  • staple gun
  • hand saw
  • wood glue
  • hot glue
  • 1 round wooden rosette (with blunt screws)
  • 2 wooden dowels (1.25″ x 72″)
  • 1 bouquet of artificial flowers
  • 1 dowel screw
  • 12 rolls of colorful ribbons (1″)

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Building Your May Pole

  1. Drill a hole in the top center of each wooden dowel. The holes should be slightly smaller than the diameter of your dowel screw.
  2. Attach the dowel screw to the newly drilled hole in dowel #1 with wood glue. (Do not put wood glue in the hole of dowel #2.)
  3. Drill a second hole into the opposite end of dowel #1. In the second hole screw in the wooden rosette with the blunt screw in the dowel.
  4. Shape the opposite end of dowel #2 into a V-shape with your handsaw.
  5. Staple one end of each ribbon to the top of the wooden rosette. Then, unravel the ribbons and wrap them around the pole
  6. Hot glue the buds of your artificial flowers to the top of the round wooden rosette.

All done! When you are ready to use your maypole, use a hammer to push the v-shaped end a few inches into the ground. Then screw the two dowels together and you are ready to start your maypole dance.

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