May Days - history

Pre-May narration

The time shouldn't be so rushed. Here we have spring again, as always a little fickle but invigorating, with the first flowers, the grass turning green and the birds singing in the morning. We have passed Easter, the festival of spring, and before we step into the days of May, we cannot overlook Philipmas Night, or the witch burning. More than this last night of April, which glowed with the flame of fires and smelled of smoke, the people of Vestec remember more the building and cutting of the maypole. The night before May Day was not meant for relaxation. The witches' raids that took place in the fields behind Vestec (near today's Meinl) were not the main point of the night's vigil, for on the second day a slender white maypole with a green top, draped with ribbons, had to stand in front of the inn "U Klimešů". And she was not the only one. Other slender trees grew in front of the house of some young girls for whom the maypole was a kind of declaration of love. Don't think that all worries and joys ended there. On the contrary, it was a kind of unwritten rule to look for a maypole in a more or less distant village and simply steal it. One such adventurous event actually took place and we will recall it now.

One evening in May, the young men from Vestec went on foot to a dance party in Újezd. But they didn't just want to have fun. They saw a maypole and, with the help of chains and a tractor that came to their aid, they wanted to overturn the maypole and drag it away. Unfortunately, the omnipresent eye of the law, embodied in the figure of a policeman, caused the maypole to remain in place. And so the planned disgrace of Újezd did not take place and the brave young men of Vestec were glad to get away with a fine. The only satisfaction for them was that they did not walk home, but took a tractor.
The cutting of the village maypole in front of the inn followed by dancing is the end of today's story. On the last day of May, the top of the tree was decorated with vuřety or a bottle of wine. The bravest and fittest were allowed to climb for trophies. You don't want to know how the skin on their feet burns afterwards.


Blanka Pašková, chronicler