Thursday, May 18, 2017

The Evolution of Garlands for May Day

1508 Hans Süss von Kulmbach (German, 1480–1522) Girl with Cat Making a May Garland

Making a May Garland. Petites Heures de la Reine Anne de Bretagne

1587 Lucas Van Valkenborch (Flemish painter, c 1530-1597) Landscape in Spring Detail Making Spring Garlands

Myles Birket Foster (1825-1899) May 1st or Garland Day

James Hayllar (1829–1920) May Day Garlands

 Myles Birket Foster (1825-1899) May Day Garlands

 1860 Thomas Falcon Marshall (1818-1878) May Day Garlands

1884 Herbert Gustave Schmalz (1856-1935) renamed himself John Wilson Carmichael in 1918 May Garland

19C A combintion of Morris & Maypole dancing and Hobby Horses,  English Morris Dancing may be the modern survival of a primitive pre-Christian ceremonial of ritual dance & drama ensuring & celebrating the renewal of Spring. This rite once flourished all over Europe & even today dances similar to the Morris can be seen in parts of France, Spain, Rumania & Portugal. The earliest documentary references to Morris dancers are mainly from Church accounts in the early 1500's - "Silver paper for the Mores-dawncers - 7d". "for VI peyre of shones for ye Mors dauncers - 4d" (1509/1510). It was certainly thriving in Shakespeare's time; Will Kemp's 'Nine Daies Wonder' was a Morris marathon from London to Norwich in 1600.  One popular theory points to evidence of similar dances in England, derived from the Druids' Maris dances, in celebration of the god Maris.  By Elizabethan times, the Morris was already known as an "ancient custom," & had become established in many areas, mainly the Cotswolds, the Welsh Borders & the North West of England. It was also a favorite entertainment at Court. A Morris dance team often featured a "Fool" or an "Animal" (a dancer in disguise, often as a dragon or hobby horse).

Edgar Barclay (1842-1913) May Day