May Day Celebrations

May Day Celebrations

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We are having lovely Spring weather in California.  We’ve had prolonged rainy seasons for the last 10 years or so.  It’s really nice to experience some sunny days.

All this Spring time warmth, made me remember how our school days changed in May in elementary school.  As the year wound down and the weather got warmer.  We  started to get that “school is almost over” feeling.

I think the teachers felt it too.  The school had no air conditioning or heaters.  Our only relief was drawing the large curtains over the wall of windows to bring in some coolness.  Sometimes our teacher would take us to the lawn outside the classrooms in front of the school.  She would read to us in the light breezes.

Lunch changed, too!  We were allowed to eat our lunches outside, something we were not allowed to do the rest of the year.  On Fridays, it was hot dogs and french fries.  That was the rare time that I bought a school lunch.  We got our food in a little cardboard box and got to take it outside to the field to eat.

School seemed to be less academic and more project and craft orientated.  I remember there was a special week surrounding May Day and Cinco de Mayo that was devoted to multicultural activities.  We got to go to different classrooms to do different crafts.  Someone’s mother always set up a cooking area in one of the classrooms and homemade tortillas for us.  They were great!

This all culminated with  a special assembly was held.  Each class had did a part.  They did a recitation, sang songs, or did some sort of folk dance.  But, the best part of the May Day celebration was dancing around the Maypole. It was a pole with multicolored streamers hanging from it.  The dancers weaved the streamers over and under each other as they danced around.  Only the 5th and 6th graders got to do this and only a special group of kids got picked.  I remembered that we got to practice as a class and I am pretty sure one year I got to dance around the May pole.  Why that was such a big thrill, I don’t know!  It was the 70s and I was still young. 😉

Here’s a photograph of children dancing around the Maypole in the late 1930s in case you’ve never seen one before:

Ah…it is good to remember that school wasn’t always a drudge.  I love those last few weeks of school when it suddenly was exciting to be there because each day seemed like a celebration.  I suppose there was something going on there.  We had so much fun that no matter how long the school year seemed  we missed it when it was over.  Maybe that’s how they got us to look forward to the next school year.  LOL

This terrified kindergartener is me…1969.  I probably hadn’t heard about the Maypole when this school photo was taken.



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