also May-pole, "high striped pole decorated with flowers and ribbons for May Day merrymakers to dance around," attested from 1550s but certainly much older, as the first mention of it is in an ordinance banning them, and there are references to such erections, though not by this name, from a mid-14c. Welsh poem. See May Day.
It was usually cut and set up afresh on May-day morning, drawn by a long procession of oxen, decorated, as were also the pole itself and the wagon, with flowers and ribbons; but in some cases a pole once set up was left from year to year, as notably the famous pole of the parish of St. Andrew Undershaft in London, which was cut down in in reign of Edward VI. [Century Dictionary]
updated on December 09, 2018