May 1: May Day

Happy May Day! It is (traditionally) the first day of summer! People have been celebrating various versions of this holiday for centuries, so there are many ways for you to party today.

Many people like to give flowers on May Day. May flowers (a.k.a. the queen of may) are favorites, while others give lilies of the valley, a tradition begun in France.

In Hawaii, they have Lei Day instead of May Day, and celebrate with leis and hula dances.

In many places, people attend festivals where they dance around a maypole and crown a young woman as Queen of May. Some of the maypole dances are intricate ribbon dances, where practiced dancers take ribbons tied to the top of the maypole and weave them together in their dance, while others are simple circle dances. Most dancers wear white on May Day.

One of my favorite traditions are May baskets, although it is not very common today (I first learned about it in Louisa May Alcott’s Jack and Jill). A May basket is a small basket filled with flowers, sweets, or whatever other small gifts you want to put inside. After getting the basket ready, you sneak up to a friend’s house, put the basket on the doorstep, ring the bell, and run! Some people like to leave hints so people can guess who gave it, but others like to keep it a complete secret.

“See! The winter is past;
the rains are over and gone.
Flowers appear on the earth;
the season of singing has come,
the cooing of doves
is heard in our land.”

Song of Songs 2:11-12

 

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One response to “May 1: May Day

  1. Pingback: May 1: Mother Goose Day | A Year of Holidays

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