Happy May Day!

South San Francisco, CA   May 3, 2019

Generations ago, May Day was celebrated in our local elementary schools with the main feature the 5th graders dancing the May Pole Dance, while younger grades performed dances from many different cultures including Hawaii’s Hukilau, or country western Virginia Reel which actually had it’s beginnings in the Highland Reel from areas in Scotland and Ireland. Students would practice their dances during the designated PE time after learning about the history culture and region of which ever piece they were performing to. {*See Hukilau lyrics below}

Parents and others were invited to watch the students performance during the day and it was quite memorable, so much in fact, that when we shared a photo of students from Avalon Elementary School performing the Maypole Dance, it stoked memories from so many,which we share below. Please feel free to add your memories as well.

Happy MAYDAY to all!
This photo from former #SSF resident Chazz Hesselein showing the Maypole Dance being performed by students at Avalon Elementary School, South San Francisco


Enjoy our neighbors comments made on our Facebook page and feel free to share your own:

Maria : I’d like one at our school (DW). I loved playing this when I was young
Sally: I remember May Day up at hillside elementary school in the 60’s
Mark: This was so much fun!!! I thought the woven cloth was soooo totally cool!!
JoAnne: I remember this at Sunshine Gardens School as a 6th Grader!
Cathy: My parents took pictures also of us
Gail: I think you have the year wrong. Must have been in the 50’s.
Wendy: I have photos of my daughter & classmates doing the Maypole at Buri-Buri in 1990
Denice: I remember doing this also
Mario: Oh yeah
Kathleen: ❤️So great that you kept this photo.
Cheryl: I went to Avalon and was in Miss Elliot’s class with Caroline Erickson, so I suspect I was dancing the Maypole in this photo, too….! Fun memories!!
Lisa: Great memories at Los Cerritos.
Christian: I remember doing this at Los Cerritos…
Deb: And the jump rope exhibition in Ms. Galloway’s class…
Diane: Do you know what year this was? My husband went to Ponderosa in the 60’s and did the Maypole Dance.
Kathy: I remember doing this on May 1st at Buri Buri Elementary School in the 60’s.
Bonnie: Good memories at Visitation Vally school
Loretta: We had it at Martin’s school also. We used a lot of crepe paper on our bonnets

Chazz Hesselein This photo is from Avalon school. I believe it’s from 1965. I would have been in fourth grade with Miss Elliott. My back is to the camera on the right side with Caroline Erickson weaving over me and Joanna Donati Corso (Joanne Goyton) to the extreme right.

Loretta: Chazz Hesselein pretty fancy footwork there! Or is it feet work??? Lol
Caroline Erickson Yep, I recognize the buzz hair cut! Those were the good ol days, eh!
Linda: We had that same dance / poles at Sunshine Gardens School in the 60’s. ?
Debra: That makes you a pole dancer ?
Linda to Debra: Yes – May Pole Dancer ??
Joanna Donati Corso Yes it was a big deal – all the parents would come watch. Even the show Mad Men had an episode that included the Maypole.
Marianne; What a fun picture to see
Janet:  Thanks for sharing. Looks like Im stepping out of line. If that’s me?!
Liz: I was thinking about that this today too. Buri Buri Elementary
Roger: We did May Day at Ponderosa until 1971. Not sure if it was just Ponderosa that wasn’t participating that year or if it was all the schools
Karen: I was the emcee for that event once!! It was a very big deal
Karen: We did the Maypole at Ponderosa too. (Hey Chazz! Shout out from the Johanson family!)
Shawn: I did this too way back in the 1860s er uh the 1960s….Thought it was so lame…
Rick: Remember it like it was yesterday, always dreaded the May pole dance
Cliff to Rick: did your mother make you wear a dress also?
Rick to  Cliff: just for you
Eileen: Its probably Avalon
Muriel: Is this old or recent?
Kristina: Well….that’s ME…the tall blonde with headband….so I’m goin’ with OLD!!!
Cheryl: Did this at ponderosa elementary school
Nancy: Did the same at Magnolia.
Kevin: We did the same thing at Spruce (1968?)



Oh we’re going to a hukilau
A huki huki huki huki hukilau
Everybody loves the hukilau
Where the laulau is the kaukau at the luau
We throw our nets out into the sea
And all the amaama come a swimming to me
Oh, we’re going to a hukilau
A huki huki huki hukilau
What a beautiful day for fishing
That old Hawaiian way
Where the hukilau nets are swishing
Down in old Laie bay
A huki huki huki huki hukilau
Everybody loves the hukilau
Where the laulau is the kaukau at the luau
We throw our nets out into the sea
And all the amaama come a swimming to me
Oh, we’re going to a hukilau
A huki huki huki hukilau

Source: One night, in 1948, the composer was suffering aches and pains after attending a hukilau at Laie. He wrote this song, introduced it publicly at a Methodist lu`au in Honolulu and it became an instant success. Copyright 1948 Owens-Kemp Music Co

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments