As we look to the coming months, and our annual Shakespeare Festival begins, we celebrate May Day.
On May 1st, May Day
ushers in a traditional celebration of flowers and spring. In many ancient calendars, May 1st welcomed the first day of summer. This was truly a cause for celebration.
One of the more popular rituals was harvesting flowers and giving them to neighbors and strangers in cone-shaped baskets. These May Baskets become more commonly known as May Day Baskets. The current tradition is observed by hanging a cone-shaped basket full of flowers or other gifts on the outside doorknob, then knocking or ringing the doorbell and running away.
May Day has been a traditional day of celebration
for centuries, with some of the earliest appearing in pre-Christian times. In English tradition, the observance is celebrated by crowning a May Queen and dancing around a maypole. The Finnish recognize a carnival-type celebration in the streets that includes a special type of lemonade made with lemons, brown sugar, and yeast. In France, it is correct to give people either dogwood or lily of the valley while Italians celebrate with a seasonal feast in honor of the arrival of spring.
May Day and May Baskets –
I had a dear friend in Oregon that loved May Day and May Baskets. Each year for about 8 years we would take turns being the one to leave a basket on the other’s front door knob. It was great fun and I have still have one to give her. Unfortunately, she had five strokes in 3 months and never walked or talked again. She’s gone now, but trading May baskets is great fun and I think of her every year on May Day.