The Orleans Festival Grounds

4500 W. Tropicana
Las Vegas, NV 89103

Prost!

Sep 29 – Oct 2

5PM to 11PM THU & FRI

11AM to 11 PM SATURDAY

11AM to 9PM SUNDAY

A Spring in the Fall – Maipole Traditions

Typically found in the Spring, specifically at the beginning of May, the maipole (der Maibaum in German) is a painted tree trunk, decorated with flowers and adorned with long, colorful ribbons flowing from the top. During celebrations, dancers gather around the maipole, each taking hold of a ribbon and circling the pole, creating a kaleidoscope of color as the ribbons intertwine. A typical maipole can have 10 dancers or more, all dancing together in unison to wind and unwind the ribbons. Traditionally, the music was provided by pipe and tabor, fiddle, and any other instruments that could be found. Today, the music usually features fiddle, pipe, tabor, accordion, and concertina as a call back to a more traditional style of music.

The tradition of a maipole and its dance can be found in many cultures, from Rome to Northern Africa. In Germany, the tradition dates back to at least the 16th century, and some speculate as far back as 13th-century pagan rituals within Germanic tribes! Today, the tradition of the maipole is very much alive and has become a fixture at many Germanic celebrations, including Oktoberfest. 

Pole Facts:

  • Maipoles got their name from May Day, a European festival dating back to ancient times that marks the beginning of summer.
  • Originally, the maipole was a living tree that was decorated and topped with ribbons.
  • In Austria and Germany, the maipole is known as ‘maibaum’ and is typically painted with Bavarian white and blue stripes.
  • Some festivities include maipole scrambling, which involves people trying to climb to the top of the pole. 
  • The maipole has appeared in many films and shows, which is why it’s familiar to so many cultures. It’s appeared in shows such as Mad Men and Doctor Who, the movie Frozen, and even the music video for “The Safety Dance ” by Men Without Hats. 

See a traditional Maipole dance during Oktoberfest at The Orleans in the Maipole Village!

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