Digital North Carolina Blog

Digital North Carolina Blog

This blog is maintained by the staff of the North Carolina Digital Heritage Center and features highlights from the collections at DigitalNC, an online library of primary sources from institutions across North Carolina.

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Celebrate May Day by Crowning the Queen of the May

Today is May Day, the midpoint between the spring equinox and the summer solstice. In pre-Christian Europe, May Day celebrated springtime fertility with festive community gatherings, and the tradition has continued into the Christian era. Later, European settlers to America brought May Day celebrations across the Atlantic.

Here in North Carolina, May Day was especially celebrated on college and university campuses by crowning a May Queen and sometimes even by dancing around a May pole.
We searched our North Carolina Newspapers and North Carolina College and University Yearbooks collections to bring you these vernal images of May Day.
The May Queen and her court at Bennett College. From the 1963 edition of the Bennett Bell.

The May Queen and her court at Bennett College. From the 1963 edition of the Bennett Bell, the Bennett College yearbook.

Maid of Honor and Queen of the May at Flora McDonald College (now Brevard College). From the May 1, 1959 issue of The Skirl, the student newspaper of Flora McDonald College.
Maid of Honor and Queen of the May at Flora McDonald College (now St. Andrews University). From the May 1, 1959 issue of The Skirl, the Flora McDonald College student newspaper, contributed to DigitalNC by St. Andrews University.
When Montreat College was a women’s college, students sometimes dressed as both male and female members of the May Court. From the 1936 edition of The Sundial.
When Montreat College was a women’s college, students sometimes dressed as both male and female members of the May Court. From the 1936 edition of The Sundial, the Montreat College yearbook.
May pole dancers at Montreat College would weave over and under each other until the ribbons were tightly braided around the May Pole. From the 1936 edition of The Sundial.
May pole dancers at Montreat College would weave over and under each other until the ribbons were tightly braided around the May Pole. From the 1936 edition of The Sundial, the Montreat College yearbook.

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