In Druidic times, the 1st May was a fertility festival where the goddess of sexuality and fertility would be celebrated, firstly by everyone dancing around a May Pole (her traditional symbol) and then disappearing into the ‘greenwood’ to undergo nuptials. Midsummer’s day also became a time of similar nuptial ritual. Nine months later, the children of the Green Man would appear, as so many English surnames testify, see the phone directory under Greenwood and Robinson etc (see below) and many more.
As the Christian Church took over, these rituals were subsumed into myth, as ever.
Thus the ‘fairy’ Green Man becomes Robin of the Greenwood, the ‘Queen of the May’ (every village virgin) becomes Maid Marion, and the Druid becomes ‘the Abbott of Unreason’ or Friar Tuck.
I wonder how many people today attend May Pole dances, or understand the significance of Morris Dancers? Honoring ‘Mary the Gypsy’ or ‘Mary Jacob’, designated the May Queen and serves by her ‘Merrow Men’ is a true survival of our Pagan past.