So, what is May Day exactly? According to Wikipedia, May Day is a public holiday usually celebrated on 1 May. It is an ancient northern hemisphere spring festival and a traditional spring holiday in many cultures. Dances, singing, and cake are usually part of the festivities. The earliest May Day celebrations appeared with the Floralia, festival of Flora, the Roman goddess of flowers, held on 27 April during the Roman Republic era. The secular versions of May Day, observed in Europe and North America, may be best known for their traditions of dancing around the maypole and crowning the Queen of May. Fading in popularity since the late 20th century is the giving of “May baskets,” small baskets of sweets or flowers, usually left anonymously on neighbors’ doorsteps.
May Day Baskets:
One of my favorite ways to celebrate May Day is to leave “May Day baskets” on my neighbors’ doorsteps. The kids can help make paper flowers, or fill baskets with real flowers and any other treats. It’s a fun way to show kindness and bring someone joy.
Here are some ideas from www.skiptomylou.org:
May Day Celebration
If you really want to celebrate May Day, here are a few more ideas:
- Construct a Maypole in your backyard. Using a pole or a small tree. Attach flowers on the top, and add long colored ribbon. Each person hold the end of the ribbon and dances around the pole.
- Crown a May Queen, who gets to sit in a chair (decorated with flowers), does not have to participate in the activities (unless she wants to!), and her crown is made of flowers.
- Make a bonfire. In the Germanic cultures, bonfires were made for May Day and herds of cattle driven between them to rid them from evil spirits and protect them from harm. Fires are still burned on May eve, the night between April 30 and May 1, today.
- “Dance into the May”. Have a dance party! In Germany, for example, it is common to hold a dance on the night of April 30 that lasts past midnight. This is known as “Tanz in den Mai”.
- Enjoy food and drink or have a picnic. Make a May Day punch with strawberries, lemonade, and 7-up. Have seasonal fruits and veggies, and other picnic foods.
- Decorate with flowers. Get outside and plant some new flowers, or bring some fresh flowers indoors. Spring is here!