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Maypoles, etc.

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Post by Perdita » Sun March 1st, 2009, 9:29 pm

I'm going to backpedal now! If Wikipedia is correct, the Giant can't be traced back to Medieval times at all.. the hill is mentioned in manuscripts but not the giant. the first mention of it is in the late 17th Century.
One theory is that it was meant to be a parody of Oliver Cromwell who was nicknamed England's Hercules, another theory says it represents a Danish giant who according to folklore tried to invade from the South. Hmmm, perhaps it's not pagan at all then.
Last edited by Perdita on Sun March 1st, 2009, 10:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by Libby » Sun March 1st, 2009, 9:54 pm


is an interesting link which discusses some of the stories surrounding the giant. There's a reference to a medieval maypole as well.
By Loyalty Bound - the story of the mistress of Richard III.


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Post by juleswatson » Mon March 2nd, 2009, 8:58 am

For the record, since my book got mixed up with this, I don't use maypoles, mummers or anything like that and pass it off as "Celtic"! I do have my people respecting the four festivals of Beltaine, Samhain etc, but this is documented from many sources. As to exactly what they do there - some people in the Scottish highlands in the 19th century were still celebrating Beltaine (roughly May day) and contemporary sources said they kindled a "needfire" (one without a tinderbox) and used that to relight all the hearths, plus they did drive cattle between bonfires to purify them. This did not make the church happy and is obviously pre-Christian. The other more spiritual experiences my characters go through at these festivals are just my interpretation of what could have happened.

It's a very murky area, and everyone is probably right. The evidence is good now that the same populations have been in place in the UK since the year dot, therefore it is possible that memories / ideas / aspects of rites have continued in tiny ways even if not consciously. But the UK has also been subject to influxes of new ideas and contact with far flung cultures, so that's all going to get mixed up, too. "Culture" is ever changing.
Author of Celtic historical fantasy
New book "THE RAVEN QUEEN" out Feb 22 2011: The story of Maeve, the famous warrior queen of Irish mythology.
Out now, "THE SWAN MAIDEN", the ancient tale of Deirdre, the Irish 'Helen of Troy'

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Post by Volgadon » Mon March 2nd, 2009, 10:57 am

I have no problem accepting that as it had been going on pretty much continuously.

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