Remember the childhood rhyme April showers bring May flowers? Flowers are a big part of my family’s May Day celebrations.
When we were little my mother helped us create May baskets to deliver early in the morning on May 1. We made “cone baskets” of construction paper and Scotch tape the night before. Flowers from Mom’s garden were picked and arranged into bundles while the dew was still on them the next morning (my sister’s favorites were dandelions which never seemed to make it through the night). Each bundle’s stems were wrapped in soggy paper towel and rubber-banded inside a baggy. The baggies were wedged inside the paper cones. Then we’d hang the baskets on the neighbors’ front doors before they had awoken for their first cup of coffee.
I was shocked to learn so few of my friends had celebrated this holiday. It was a rite of spring we kept up until my family moved out into the country and neighbors were more than walking distance away.
The first day of May is celebrated in many parts of the world. It may have evolved from the ancient Egyptian agricultural and fertility rites of spring. However, the majority of the current traditions stem from the Roman Festival, Floralia. This was a five-day festival honors the Goddess Flora with offerings of flowers, dancing with ribbons around a Maypole and ringing bells. Other spring awakening traditions incorporated into today’s May Day celebrations came from the ancient Celtic Beltane and Germanic Walpurgis Night.
May Day is still celebrated around the world with the traditions and stories varying from place to place. The common theme in most celebrations is the use of flowers. Here in the US, it is typical to hang a basket full of spring flowers and/or other small gifts on a neighbor’s doorknob. The trick is you don’t want the neighbor to see you! If you get caught, you are supposed to get a kiss.
If you are thinking of trying it this year. Here are some great ideas for May Day celebrations, traditions and baskets on Pinterest.
- Jani Snyder (52 pins)
- JuliaB (119 pins)
- Sandy (36 pins)
- Kiboomu (35 pins)
- Lisa Murphy (29 pins)
- Nicole Flores (89 pins)
- Arlene Peterson (79 pins)
- Daphne Davis (40 pins)
- Shnee Carter (131 pins)
Here is a template for cone baskets then use ribbon or yarn for the handle.