Maypole dance fete raises over �1,000 for Newbury Park church
Colourful maypole dancers caused a stir at a Newbury Park May Day fete last Monday.
As the sun shone on St Peter’s Church in Aldborough Road North on bank holiday Monday more than 500 people visited to watch traditional Maypole dancing by members of Charma’s stage school in Willingale Road, Loughton, who had also chosen a May queen and two attendants.
More than �1,100 was raised for church funds through sales of plants, a coconut shy, tin tombola and cake stalls.
A church spokesman said: “The maypole dancing has been a tradition for as long as the fete has existed, about 25 years.
“It always attracts such a big crowd because it’s quite an unusual sight in Newbury Park.”
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Maypole dancing and May Day celebrations hark back to pre-Christian Celts in Britain who celebrated Beltane around May 1 to worship the fertility of nature and the coming of summer, as modern Pagans do today.
Celtic festivals often tied in with rural needs so as people planted their crops, they hoped for a fruitful year. The maypole was a symbol of fertility and the women who dance around it were seen as blessed.
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Pagans believe in many gods and share an ecological vision of the spirituality of the natural world.