Skip To Main Content
What is the History of Mayfair at Dublin School?

History of May Day:

The roots of May Day go all the way back to ancient world. For the Romans, the first of May stood at the heart of the Floralia, a weeklong festival to honor Flora, goddess of youth, spring, and flowers. When the Romans reached the British Isles, their Floralia festival collided with the Celtic holiday of Beltane, also held on May 1. Elements of both celebrations combined to lay the foundations for what became known as May Day—which, by the medieval period, had become a cherished holiday throughout Europe.

Every year, villagers would go "a-maying," venturing out in the early morning to collect flowers and decorate their town for the day's festivities. During the day, villages would hold a number of games, pageants, and dances, and many would crown a young woman "May Queen" to preside over the fun. At the heart of the festivities stood the maypole. Pulled into town by a pair of flower-adorned oxen, the pole (usually cut from a birch tree) was raised and decorated with colorful streamers that villagers could hold as they danced.


At Dublin, this became a longstanding tradition started by beloved teacher Jan Haman in 1978 as a way to celebrate the arts. 

A 1978 issue of the Dubliner Magazine stated: “a day of arts, sciences, and sports attended by alumni, parents, and friends of the school”. Included in the festivities were art & science exhibits, poetry reading, dance recital, road race, a performance of “You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown,” a tug o’ war, ice cream making, rocketry, a sack race, and an equestrian demonstration, all of which was planned by the faculty and students.The senior class then participated in a dance around a pole decorated with colorful streamers, weaving them around the pole as they went.

Another fun aspect of the tradition that came about over the years was that when seniors finish weaving the streamers around the Maypole, the rising seniors (junior class) steals the maypole and hides it until Mayfair the following year.