The Germanic traditions that surround the Maypole have their origins in the pre-christian pagan religion of Northern Europe. The Maypole represented the World Axis - to which our Saxon ancestors called the Irminsul. The raising of a Maypole was part of the welcoming of Summer. Trees were decorated and the folk sang and danced around them. The German for Maypole is Maibaum - literally 'May Tree' - again another reference to the World Axis - the Nordic World Tree or Yggdrasil.
It varies across Europe as to when the Maypole is rised - some parts at the beginning of May to coincide with the Mayday holidays - whilst in other places the custom has become absorbed into Christianity and the Maypole is raised on Whitsun.
In the Nordic countries the Maypole is called the Majtræ, again meaning the May Tree, and is most often raised at Midsummer. Here we see how the May Tree - being a Summer Tree is ritualised in the same manner, but at an opposing time of the year - as the Yuletide tree.
Today the Maypole has almost vanished from England. It was still a custom when I was at school, however there are now very few villages and greens in England that still raise a Maypole. Multiculturalism has certainly seen an end to that! But the Maypole traditions are still strong across Europe, especially in Germany, where the holidays of Walpurgisnacht, Mayday and the Raising of the Maypole all merge into a long and healthy season of Sun worship, folk-community spirit, and most important of all - they keep the Heathen spirit of Germania alive!
A Maypole with Swastika is raised over Berlin!
National Socialist farmers kept German tradition alive.
A Maypole for the young!
Cover of Frauen Wart with Nation Socialists celebrating Summer
around the Maypole!