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The maypole is a tall wooden pole (traditionally of maple (Acer), hawthorn or birch) erected to celebrate May Day or Midsummer. It may be a semi-permanent feature, standing in position year-round until it has to be repainted or replaced, or it may be a shorter, temporary structure. It may be decorated with several long coloured ribbons suspended from the top, festooned with flowers, draped in greenery, hung with large circular wreaths, or adorned with other symbols or decorations, depending on local and regional variances.

With roots in Germanic paganism, the maypole traditionally appears in most Germanic countries, Germanic country-bordering and countries invaded by Germanic tribes after the fall of the Roman Empire (such as Spain, France and Italy), but most popularly in Germany, Sweden, Austria, England, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Finland in modern times for spring, May Day, Beltane, and Midsummer festivities and rites.

What is often thought of as the "traditional" English maypole (a somewhat shorter, plainer version of the Scandinavian pole with ribbons tied at the top and hanging to the ground) is a relatively recent development of the tradition, probably derived from the picturesque, Italianate dances performed in mid-19th century theatricals. It is usually this shorter, plainer maypole that people (usually school children) perform dances around, weaving the ribbons in and out to create striking patterns.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Maypole" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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