Polydore Virgil says that the Roman youths used to go into the
fields and spend the calends of May in dancing and singing in honour of
Flora, goddess of fruits and flowers. The early English consecrated
May-day to Robin Hood and the Maid Marian, because the favourite
outlaw died on that day. Stow says the villagers used to set up
May-poles, and spend the day in archery, morris-dancing, and other
(1517), when the London apprentices rose up against the foreign
residents, and did incalculable mischief. The riot lasted till May
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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