Springing into May Day

Students prepare for updated annual May Day celebration


Audrey Lippert

One of the highlights of the May Day celebration is the maypole tradition that all freshman students are able to participate in.

For over a century, May Day has been an annual event for the West Linn community. Because of its history, alumni use this event as an opportunity to revisit their school and take interest in what has changed, and find comfort in what has stayed the same. May Day acts as a showcase of the traditions and improvements shared by the school and community.

Members of the May Court are expected by organizers to act as a model student for others. Tyler Coke, senior, was selected to be on the court for this year’s May Day celebration.

“[May Day is] a really great opportunity to be able to expand [on] who you know in the school and also to be able to become an ambassador and to represent what’s in high school,” Coke said. “I feel like it’s important to show off the qualities of a high school and how important community is.” 

For many students, May Day is also a way to grow already existing relationships. Makena Big John, senior, is on this year’s May Court. 

“I’m fortunate right now to do it with my two best friends,” Big John said.“But I’m excited to meet new people and make new friendships throughout the way.”

In recent years, May Day has seen some long-lived traditions changed.

“A few years [ago], like before [COVID-19], they had a female prince, which was pretty cool,” Big John said. 

A traditional aspect of May Day is the maypole dance. Since the start of May Day, freshman female students were the only ones allowed to participate in this ceremony. This can be traced back to the dance’s origin, a Germanic Pagan fertility ritual. The maypole includes several students wrapping ribbons of spring colors around the large maypole. 

Prior to last year, only freshman girls were allowed to participate. Last year, it was changed to include all freshmen, regardless of gender or grade.  

“Annie [Kaiser] is the coordinator of it,” Big John said. “She’s done a pretty good job with moving around, with all the change in society. And it feels very welcoming.” 

This makes the meaning of the tradition changed to fit modern beliefs, while it allows people of all genders to participate in the maypole.

“It’s not just like straight towards like male stereotypes, [or] female stereotypes. It’s more well rounded,” Coke said. 

With the last few years showing various changes to May Day’s traditions, this year’s celebration will differ from the previous in a variety of ways. May Day will happen in the main gym on April 28, one right after school, and one in the evening.