[Christine O’Keeffe’s May Day Customs]
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May Bush:

Ireland. A May Bush of greenery is decorated with eggshells, ribbons, flowers, and candles by children. In Wales a tall birch is cut down before dawn and transported from the woods into town. Young men take bunches of rosemary with white ribbons and place them at bedroom windows of women they adore. (2, 5)

Auld Wife: According to Emma Mary Thomas: In some places people who wished to insult or annoy any enemy took a horse’s head, and fastened it to the latch of the door. On this day effigies were carried about the villages. These would be named after any man or woman who had made himself or herself notorious, ridiculous, or scandalous. The effigy was greeted with laughter, shouts of derision, and pelted with various missiles. (5)

Hobby Horses: Padstow, Cornwall: On May Day two hobby horses dance through the town for twelve hours. They are each led by a Teaser; a white-robed person with a painted club. A retinue of white clothed people follow behind with accordians and drums singing the Mayers’ Song. At the dirge parts of the song the horses lie down until the chorus swells. (3)

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