How to construct a maypole

Written by marysia walcerz | 13/05/2017
How to construct a maypole
Flowers and wreaths are another part of May Day celebrations (Matt Cardy/Getty Images News/Getty Images)

May Day was a pagan tradition that marked the end of winter and the advent of spring with dancing, flowers, and a celebration. Early maypoles were tall trees stripped of their branches, which served as the focal point for dancing, sports, and other celebratory activities during May Day. Today, many people build maypoles with coloured ribbons for the traditional maypole dance, which involves morris dancers and schoolchildren holding ribbons and entwining them as they move around the pole. You can build your own maypole for May Day with a pole from a DIY shop, ribbons, and a little ingenuity.

Calculate the maximum height of your maypole. Consider where you will place it -- do you have a large open area, or will you need to erect it near trees or buildings?

Cut the pole to the desired size, if neccessary.

Cut lengths of ribbon or brightly coloured cloth twice the length of the height of your maypole. For example, if you are constructing a 4.6 metre (15 feet) tall maypole, you will need 9.2 metre (30 feet) long ribbons.

Attach the ribbons or cloth to the top of the pole. You can staple, tie or nail them, but make sure they are securely attached and will be able to stand up to the dancers tugging on them.

Dig a hole in the ground approximately one-fifth the length of your maypole. For a 4.6 metre (15 feet) maypole, you would need a 90 cm (3 feet) deep hole.

Place the maypole's bottom end in the hole, and fill in soil around it. Test your maypole for security, and build up more dirt or rocks around it if necessary.


Your pole can be made of PVC, wood or metal, but consider that you will be attaching ribbons to the top and will need to mount it in the ground.

Things you need

  • Ribbons or brightly coloured cloth
  • Pole or pipe
  • Staple gun or glue
  • Hammer and nails
  • Shovel

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