Maypole is a decoration made of a cut tree trunk, mostly spruce, the tip of which is formed by a wreath decorated with ribbons. In the Czech Republic, a maypole is being built on April 30 or May 1, or in other countries on the feast of St. George, Pentecost or during the Midsummer. This tradition is widespread almost throughout Europe and has survived even the spread of Christianity. But why is the maypole being built at the first place?
Maypole construction has a very long tradition and the spread of this custom can be observed from Russia through Great Britain to the United States and from the Nordic countries to Malta. Originally, the maypole was built in the Germanic part of Europe and in adjacent areas as early as the Iron Age. However, its exact origin is unknown and will probably be shrouded in mystery forever.
Many theories have already been made about the symbolism of building a maypole. Some of them are hundreds of years old. According to one theory, it was a celebration of spring and an expression of joy from the coming warm period. According to another theory, it was a matter of bringing the forest spirit to the village to ensure its blessing. It has also been suggested that the maypole represents the symbol of the so-called axis mundi, or the center of the world. The original Germanic pagans also often worshiped the sacred tree and built wooden stakes in its honor. In any case, the origin of the symbolism of this custom is not clearly defined and established among the current professional community.