Of course Margaret the Flower was merely exhibiting on our behalf a very ancient Celtic custom. In his History of Creggan (1840) Nelson wrote of these too: this misguided Christian minister however disavowed ancient Irish custom in favour of his own classical training. He was wont to ascribe their origin to the ancient Greek or Roman.
‘On May eve some young persons, male and female, go to gather Mayflowers in the meadow. They carry these home or scatter them about the doors on the same evening. Of the origin of this they know nothing but it may be the remains of the ancient Roman Floralia.
In the neighbouring parish of Louth the figure of a female is made nearly as large as life which is dressed fantastically with flowers, ribbons etc. This image possibly represents Flora the goddess of flowers and some say of fecundity. Around this figure a man and a woman, for the most part his wife dressed in the same way as the figure, dance to the sound of a fiddle, exhibiting themselves in many ridiculous positions and forms, to the great amusement of the general populace.
During all this time the figure is kept moving up and down as if dancing. These exhibitions are usually closed by a collection taken up for the actor and actress who generally act another scene of drunkenness the same evening’.
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