Spring has sprung and summer is on its way. Out in sunny Southern California we don’t get much rain in the forecast, but we all look forward to summer season soon approaching. It is a special time to play with the kids and enjoy the long sunny days and warmer nights.
Although not an official holiday, May Day is generally celebrated on May 1st. May Day falls directly between the Spring Equinox and the Summer Solstice and generally symbolizes a time of rebirth, regeneration and refreshment during the mid-spring season.
Long ago, some cultures participated in May festivals by singing and dancing around maypoles with long ribbons, and hosting potlucks and fairs. The promise of sunny summer and all its benefits are celebrated by all across the northern hemisphere.
According to a historical article in the publication NDR, in the 19th century it was popular to gather up the flowers in bloom from the spring showers and place them in a bouquet. The bouquet was placed inside a rolled up paper cone with a ribbon on the end for hanging over a doorknob. This tradition of a May Day bouquet brought great joy to many people to receive the unexpected gift of flowers. The younger boys would leave a May Day bouquet on a girl’s doorknob he fancied, and then ring her doorbell quickly while running away. If the girl could run and catch him, then she could give him a kiss. Children would also leave bouquets on the doorknobs of elders or family members. Flowers are the most common items to place inside the baskets, but candies, baked goods, and trinkets could also be used.
Start a new family tradition in your neighborhood and spread some unexpected joy by leaving bouquets of flowers for neighbors. Place them in a vessel to hang them on a doorknob. Have the kids ring the doorbell of the recipient and run off before they answer the door. Also, keep the gifts anonymous as this gesture is purely for the fun of it. May Day could also be a great reason to gather for a block party and rekindle the neighborhood spirit while teaching the kids about the holiday. A basketball hoop could be used as the Maypole and kids can make patterns with the ribbon designs. The ribbons should ultimately cover the entire pole after the kids twirl around it.
Here is an idea to make a very easy May Day Basket.
Small Metal Pail (I found these at Target and they were sold in packs of 4 for $6)
A silver sharpie pen
Burlap Bow Stickers (from Hobby Lobby)
Small Rosette flower Stickers (from Hobby Lobby)
Wildflowers or small flower bouquet
These small pails come with a small chalkboard area to write on.
- Simply take the silver sharpie pen and write “Happy May Day” in the chalkboard area.
- Place a bow sticker above the chalkboard oval.
- Place two of the rosette stickers on each side of the oval.
- Wrap a small bouquet of flowers with packing paper and place into the pail.
- Hang on a special neighbor’s doorknob.
- Ring the bell and run!