Every year, thousands of maypoles are erected throughout Slovakia. The tip of a tree adorned with colorful ribbons is mounted on a pole and risen high into the sky amid music and merriment.
The origins of the tradition are usually tracked to the Middle Ages, but the custom is actually much older. Before the arrival of Christianity, our ancestors used to decorate their homes with fresh spring foliage to ward off evil and misfortune and for protection.
In the early Middle Ages, this custom was gradually replaced by a tradition that originated in Germany. Boys started building maypoles in front of the houses of the girls that stole their hearts to let them know that they were serious. The more popular the girl, the more maypoles appeared in her garden on the eve of May 1. The custom is still practiced in eastern Slovakia.
With time, the Maypole tradition morphed into its current expression when every village and town in Slovakia erected a collective maypole in its center. These maypoles are a celebration of spring and love that the month of May is dedicated to.