Sunday, October 23, 2011

Sepia Saturday #97


Happy Sepia Saturday! ... er ... Sunday! ... uh ... Saturunday!!

Alan's prompt this week was a wonderful photo of some Irish schoolchildren being adorably candid and child-like, with quite a few of them looking everywhere BUT at the camera.

It immediately brought to mind this photo:
This charming group of clowns is part of a May Day celebration in my hometown, dated 1956. Notice some of the clowns are smiling, some have their arms crossed in a tough guy stance, almost all of them are looking at the camera, and all the little clowns have their faces painted. Well, all except one, back row, second from right. Yes, one lone clown apparently defied conformity and decided she wasn't going to participate like all her classmates. Like I said, there's one in every crowd.

Because it's turning cold here, I'll veer off away from children and follow the path to a warmer theme ...

The celebration of May Day on or close to May 1 was a tradition in my home school district for many years. There was a theme each year, with events for elementary, junior high and high school students. There was even a May Day Queen, chosen from the junior class, and her court. This photo is from our high school's 1939 yearbook, and the queen was a classmate of my mother's. In later years, the girls had male escorts, decked out in tuxedos, selected by the teachers.

And what would a May Day celebration be without a May Pole? I have no idea what you had to do to be selected for this ritual. Note the bare feet, although I don't see any Beltane fires burning in the school gym. While the celebration of May Day is an ancient tradition in many parts of the world (May 1 was actually considered the first day of summer, which made the summer solstice, June 21, mid-summer) the practice died out in the 1960s here where I live.

Now I'm off to check out the rest of the Sepia Saturunday participants. Come join me by clicking HERE!

Oh, one more thing ... that defiant little clown, the one who didn't want her face painted? That's my sister! And yes, she still acts that way. Shhhh ... don't tell her I said that.


  1. I love seeing the May Pole photo. My mother spoke of being "selected" to participate in the May Pole activity at her school in South Dakota. I have wondered what it may have looked like. It would be fun to regenerate a May Day celebration. Everything else seems so commercial.

  2. The first photo of the clowns reminded me that I had a clown costume for Halloween when I was in grade school.

  3. I don't think I've seen such a big bunch of clowns, ignoring politicians. The May Queen clebrations was never such a big thingin UK schools and havin a maypole inside seems strange to me. Fortunately maypole dancing has not died out.

  4. Ah the maypole. Now, that’s still an English tradition. The school where I was headteacher had one, and a very dedicated member of staff who taught the children (boys as well as girls). It was used for all celebrations, whatever the date. Thank you for the memories.

  5. These are wonderful pictures! That is so neat that your town had such a neat May Day celebration. The clowns are darling; funny about your sister.

    Thanks so much for stopping by to see me.

    Take care,

    Kathy M.

  6. My college celebrated May Day with maypole dancing and strawberries and cream for breakfast, but we didn't wear short skirts like that! :)

  7. It sounds like sisters are not too different to brothers (but don't tell my brother I said that). A great collection of images. As for the May Pole : I have always wanted to have a go with one of those.

  8. The clown photo is my favourite. Although it's black and white, it has so much life and colour in it, that I almost see it that way. Apart from the fantastic costumes and painted faces, it's the things going on in the background that tell much of the story. A wonderful Sepia Saturday contribution - thanks for sharing it.

  9. May poles! However did we loose them?! I remember the May Day tradition of delivering baskets of flowers and goodies to friends and neighbors. I was so sad when we moved to a neighborhood that didn't observe the tradition!

  10. We always had May Poles, not as many May baskets made in Michigan as I guess they made here in Minnesota...but my children never celebrated any of that! Oh well, times change! I think that group of them dressed as clowns is just darling! I bet they had lots of fun!

  11. your post makes me think of one of my favorite bands and a song appropriate for this:


  12. The first picture is wonderful. I loved the old cars in the background...

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