The Dancing-Towers of Italy.
(Ante, p. 243.)
May not these towers be akin to the dressed and ornamented poles used in different parts of Europe to celebrate May-tide and summer festivals? I have not my notes at hand, but I think it could be shown that the whirling of the towers is analogous to people suspended from ropes swinging round about a pole. If I remember rightly, in ancient Mexico ropes were tightly wound round tall poles, and when they were set free the man hanging at the end of each cord naturally gyrated as he descended to the ground. Something very like this is also known in Russia. The old May-pole rites have died out here (Kirton in Lindsey), but the school-girls, incited by their teachers, have of late years taken to going from house to house carrying a small pole, round which they dance and sing. The long ribbons hanging from it, the ends of which are held by the dancers and which are interwoven in the course of the dancing, may represent ropes once used for swinging.
I was at Buxton on May Day, 1895, 1896, and 1897, and on each occasion I saw children (girls) dancing round a May-pole. They came from Burbage, Fairfield, and other villages in the neighbourhood, and carried a pole decorated with ribbons, which they set on the ground and danced round, holding the ribbons till they were twisted and plaited close round the pole and then