The Maypoles of Austria

Lake Hallstatt

Its May, and its time to put up the Maypole.

Happy May!

As we drove into Austria, strange elevated Christmas trees began to pop up. In the front yards of houses and in the centre of the towns, the Maypoles, often decorated with fluttery ribbons, dotted the landscape.

A symbol of spring and the new season of rebirth. Dancers will often weave ribbons around the pole, giving thanks for the coming warmth.

There are many countries with traditions involving Maypoles….can you tell me about them, I couldn’t find much online about them…

Do you know about the history and traditions of Maypoles?

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Is it too late to have a gap year in your late 50s? To take back some time from our day to day working life to travel - unplanned, unescorted, unfettered? To take that leap? It was a defining year - liberating, challenging, humbling, scary. It was many things, but it wasn't a holiday.

6 thoughts on “The Maypoles of Austria

  1. A lovely tradition and quite a feat to put those up in your front garden I would have thought.
    I have very vague memories of dancing round a maypole when i was a child – it must have been with the Brownies or with school. It fascinated me the way a pattern could be formed depending on the way the dancers moved.


  2. I looked endlessly for a photo of the dancers I could use on this post…. I did see an article where folk did a random flash mob pole wrap which was quite funny


  3. I’ve always loved the Maypole tradition and spent my childhood wishing we could have one in the yard (no such luck). I believe it originated as part of a spring fertility ritual in Germany and migrated to Britain with the Anglo-Saxons. Beltaine (or Walpurgis) was a pagan holiday to bless the fields at planting and to pray for fertility for all in the coming year. The phallic nature of the pole is complemented by the ribbons woven around it during the dance; a symbol of the beauty of fertility. I wish I had more information than that, but hopefully this little bit is at least interesting.


  4. I didn’t know this was still being done today.. I always considered maypoles a really old and bygone tradition! Wonderful photos too.


  5. In our village we have always had a decades old rivalry with the neighbouring villagers, where people would try and cut down the other villages’ Maypole – leads to all sorts of funny goings on; people standing guard, greasing the pole to make it harder to climb, surveillance cameras!


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