Celebrate Spring – It’s May Day!

Here in the United States, May Day isn’t celebrated as widely as some other holidays. Many, I’m sure, have no idea what it is or where it came from. Let me help you with that! May Day began as an ancient festival to celebrate the return of spring, and lies halfway between the spring equinox and the summer solstice.

“As with many early holidays, May Day was rooted in agriculture. Springtime celebrations filled with dance and song hailed the sown fields starting to sprout. Cattle were driven to pasture, special bonfires were lit, and both doors of houses and livestock were decorated with yellow May flowers.

“Later, celebrations evolved to speak more to the “bringing in the May” with the gathering of wildflowers and green branches, the weaving of floral garlands, the crowning of a May king and queen, and the setting up of a decorated May tree, or Maypole, around which people danced. Such rites originally may have been intended to ensure fertility for crops and, by extension, for livestock and humans, but in most cases this significance was gradually lost, so that the practices survived largely as popular festivities.

“Have you ever heard of a May basket? People would leave a paper basket or cone with spring flowers and sweets on each other’s doorsteps, usually anonymously. This tradition was popular through the 19th and 20th centuries, especially with children or sweethearts. The custom was to knock on the door, yell “May basket!,” and then run. If the recipient caught the giver, he or she was entitled to a kiss.”  https://www.almanac.com/content/what-may-day#

Though I never knew why we did it, my sisters and I used to present our neighbor down the road with a May basket. Mabel Huffaker lived alone at the last house on the street, her yard filled with Iris and other flowers. We did, in fact, call her the “flower lady” and it was only years later that I learned her real name.

She had other interests, including painting and ceramics and I would stop and talk to her on the way home from school if she was out in her yard. When I got a bit older, and she a bit frailer, she hired me to mow her lawn. She told me once that when she went downtown, she carried a rock tied up in a handkerchief to protect herself from mashers! She was a feisty old gal.

Even if you don’t have a need for fertility rituals or a kiss from the neighbor, you can still celebrate spring by giving a May basket, sending flowers, or planting a tree (yesterday was Arbor Day). HAPPY MAY DAY!

Author: Alexander Elliott

Alexander Elliott lives in the upper Midwest and is the author of multiple books in science fiction, fantasy, paranormal, and romance. His work is replete with themes of love, passion, family, humor, hope, and acceptance. Good triumphs over evil, providing happier endings for his stories. When Alexander isn’t busy writing, you’ll find him enjoying a good soak in the tub, reading, cooking, giving to charity, or keeping up with his kids, grandkids, and extended family. He loves chocolate, insists on sending birthday cards, and considers himself an old-school Star Trek fan. While he is afraid of heights and hates exercise, he’s a loyal friend, neat housekeeper, and an enthusiastic grandpa. The author is known for masterful storytelling and phenomenal world-building. His books feature realistic, well-developed characters, emotional depth, sizzling romance, and all the adventure, action, and intrigue necessary for a great read. Alexander understands that real life can be discouraging and stressful. Reading allows him to get away from it all, and he invites you to join him. If you have enjoyed his work, he would love to hear from you! Email: aelliottbooks@gmail.com Website: https://aelliottbooks.com/

2 thoughts on “Celebrate Spring – It’s May Day!”

  1. Very sweet! I remember May day when I was a kid & then again when our kids were small. May Day is a lot more fun when you have little ones. Our neighbor kids come over to give us a May basket every year. It’s quite sweet & helps build relationships between neighbors. Thanks for the info on May Day!

  2. Thank you! I don’t know anyone today who celebrates it, but it seems like a great opportunity to have fun and make connections with people, young or old. Good to hear from you and happy spring!

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