The May Pole is a tall wooden pole long associated with May Day, or Pentecost (Whitsun)
In some cases it is a permanent feature that is only utilised during the festival or is erected specifically for the purpose.
Dancing the May Pole has a long history stretching far back into the rural paganism of Iron Age and early Medieval cultures. Such is its nature that the tradition survived the advent of Christianity and lives on today in May Day celebrations around the world, although its true meaning has been lost over the centuries.
Recorded evidence for maypole use across much of Britain begins to emerge in the 12th and 13th centuries and by the 15th century is seen to be well established across southern Britain, in both town and country.
The practice increased in popularity and the maypole has become a communal symbol that brought local communities together, especially the poorer ones, in order to obtain and erect one.
Even today the tradition continues to be observed in some parts of Europe and among European communities in North America, Canada and Australia.
This cake, from the ‘Womans Own’ cake book, follows the traditional design and would be ideal for a May birthday for any age.