Monday, May 1, 2017

Collective Memories Monday - May Day

International Grenfell Association photograph collection.
Labrador and Northern Newfoundland.
May Day: Labrador Public School.
Series VA 94, Item VA 94-35.5.
Courtesy of The Rooms Archives.
Last week I had an interview with Peggy Snow who attended our initial Mount Pearl Memory Mug Up. Peggy grew up in Kilbride and spent a lot of time swimming in the river and playing in the secret hideouts of Bowring Park. During our interview she described her childhood in Kilbride including children's games, local businesses, and the importance of the school and church.

Peggy attended St. Augustine's school which was part of St. Bride's College also known as Littledale. One of the memories she shared of her time in school was her memories of the May walk which she describes in the audio clip below. During the walk the children would wear blue ribbons and crown a Mary in celebration of the Virgin Mary.

Similar traditions or celebrations involving a May Queen and maypoles occur around the world during the month of May. In England May Queens are crowned and maypoles or may bushes are often erected. The tradition of maypoles are also seen in parts of Newfoundland and you can read this may bush blog post to learn more.

Another part of the province which practised the tradition of crowning  a May Queen was Labrador. Although I don't know much of the practice I came across the above photo during a work term with Them Days in Labrador and it immediately came to mind as Peggy described her memories of crowning one of the children with blue ribbons during their May Walk. I reached out to Them Days Archives and was told the practice was thought to have been brought by English settlers and was concentrated in the communities of Cartwright and North West River.

Were you ever crowned a May Queens?
Do you remember May Walks, maypoles, or may bushes?
Let us know and share your memories and photographs!

No comments: