An Alandian maypole is easy to recognise. Yet the maypoles look very different. Every village has its own maypole and they compete with each other who has the most beautiful one.
Most of the maypoles nowadays stand with the help of a tripod, but in Eckerö the natural way is still used, by digging the root nodule of the tree in the ground and supporting it with stones and stanchions.
To lift the tall pole and make it stand straight is a challenge every midsummer. “It’s fun, but you always curse while doing it”, a resident of Eckerö says, who usually participates. Do you want to participate in making crowns and decorating a maypole? Look for signs by the road with information about time and place.
Most likely, Storby holds the worlds highest maypole. It measures 28,3 meters from root to the top.
The maypoles of Eckerö
Storby, Överby, Torp, and Lassas in Kyrkoby, which is the children’s maypole with activities during the day. Some common symbols of the Alandian maypole:
-The fighting man stands for industry.
–The streamer shows which direction the wind blows, which was important back in the day.
–The sun cross is always turned towards the sunrise and stands for vitality, fertility, and warmth.
–The sailing boat is a symbol of the importance of navigation, and how we sail towards a bright future.
–The bobble sticks are a symbol of the crop and the bread we eat.
–The crowns are made before the lifting of the maypole: it is a symbol of socializing.
The bright colours stand for happiness and celebration.