We're Celebrating May Day this week on Come by the Hills!

As Monday is May 1, I thought we'd pay some attention to that fact in fine Celtic fashion on Come by the Hills. May Day or May-time was for a long time in European history associated with the end of planting and the beginning of summer. yes, summer used to begin much earlier than June 21, which is why that date is still known as Midsummer's Day in England. The Equinoxes and Solstices used to mark the mid-points, rather than the beginnings of seasons. So, May 1 was the beginning of summer in the old agricultural calendar.

It was celebrated in Pagan times as a fertility festival, or really many different fertility festivals throughout Europe. The Maypole itself was once regarded as a phallic symbol representing the life force as transmitted by the male of most species. When I was young, the Maypole was a metal pole with chains hanging down from it which you would run around in a children's playground, altogether different from the beribboned and begarlanded trees, and later poles, which have served as the central point of many a May Day festival throughout the centuries.

As you might be able to tell by now, May Day is a great favourite of mine, a time of year which carries many happy associations. I have danced around an actual maypole or two in my day, and have enjoyed it very much indeed, and even though I will likely never be May Queen again, (I was once, you know,) I look back on those times with great fondness and much love.

So, seeing as May 1 is on Monday, I thought I couldn't pass up a chance to pay tribute to this festival that affirms life and fertility by celebrating it with Celtic music. We'll have a tuneful salute to the Cuckoo, which is a known harbinger of summer in England and Ireland, and we'll pay some attention to Padstow Cornwall and their May Day festivities which still go on to this day. Generally, we're going to have a very good time.

So, if you're feeling like you want to say goodbye to winter and hello to summer, if you feel like a dance around the maypole, then join me on Come by the Hills, Sunday night at 8:00 PM Eastern, replayed on Friday morning at 4:00 AM Eastern, 9:00 AM in the UK and Ireland!