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Beauty pageants have been around, in various guises, for a long, long time. Historians trace them back at least as far as those ancient May Day events, still held in parts of Europe, to celebrate the first day of summer.

If we are to believe Wikipedia, the earliest known May celebrations were part of the festival of Flora, the Roman goddess of flowers, when crowds were pelted with vetches, beans and lupins. Yes, even vetches. And still today, in merry old England, a May Queen is crowned — as "a girl who rides or walks at the front of a parade for May Day celebrations. She wears a white gown to symbolise purity and usually a tiara or crown."..

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