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The Lusty Month of May

The Maypole's Ancient Symbolism
Nick Smarto
The Maypole's Ancient Symbolism

If you’ve ever danced around a Maypole, you’re taking part in a ritual that goes back 1000’s of years, before the invention of the nuclear family but after the invention of alcohol and sex.

Folks have been celebrating the end of winter on the First of May since the days of Yore, which turns out to be a mighty long time. While we don’t know exactly who Yore was or why we still talk about him, we do know that for millennia May Day has been one of the biggest parties of the year in the gloomy climates of Northern Europe, Scandinavia and the British Isles. They do have something to shout about…

Made it through winter…time to plant the fields…maybe take a bath--definitely calls for a shindig.

Tra La It's May! The Lusty month of May! That lovely month when ev'ryone goes blissfully astray.

In Germany and Scandinavia it’s called Walpurgis Night, and to this day includes all night parades with singing, dancing and bonfires. And some occasional modest drinking…

In Celtic lands it’s Beltane, and in addition to the bonfires and drinking (modest) it has colorful characters like Jack-in-the-Green, and the Queens of the May. Leading scholars have debated the symbolism of young maidens dancing around a gigantic Maypole, but we at Record Bin Roulette think we know what it means… Tra la! It's here! That shocking time of year When tons of wicked little thoughts Merrily appear! It's May! It's May!

(from "Camelot")

John has worked as a professional bassist for 20 years, including a 15 year stint as Musical Director of the Mountain Stage radio program. John has been at KNKX since 1999 where he hosts “All Blues”, is producer of the BirdNote radio program, and co-hosts “Record Bin Roulette”. John is also the recording engineer for KNKX “In-Studio Performances”. Not surprisingly, John's main musical interests are jazz and blues, and he is still performing around Seattle.
John Maynard started working in radio in the seventies as a DJ at Seattle’s KJR AM which at the time was the dominant AM station in the Seattle market. After a brief stint as a restaurateur and night club owner, Maynard returned to radio with Robin Erickson, creating the hugely popular “Robin and Maynard Show.” In the more than 20 years under that marquee, Maynard flew with the Blue Angels, piloted the Goodyear Blimp, sang with Donny Osmond and hung out in a Universal Studios bar with Kojak (Telly Savalas).