The first of May—it brings more than the promises of blooming flowers, it brings the historic celebration of May Day.
The origin of May Day dates back to the ancient times of the Druids on the British Isles. A festival known as Beltane was thought to be the most important day of the year, because it divided the year in half. When the Romans took over the British Isles, the five-day celebration of Floralia overtook previous rituals in celebrating seasonal change. This celebration was devoted to Flora, the goddess of flowers. Eventually the traditions and rituals of Floralia were woven in with those of Beltane to create May Day—the ultimate celebration of spring!
Whether you stick to tradition or make your own, these are four ways to join the celebration.
Make Your Own Maypole
Maypoles are one of the most common symbols of May Day. You may have even seen trees draped with long colorful ribbon encircled around the trunk and swathed over the branches to make a May Pole. To create your own, find a small tree, and attach long ribbons to the branches, or find a long pole or piece of wood that can be dug into the ground so it won’t sway. Adding fresh (or handmade) flowers to the top of the pole can add to the feeling of spring. Once the tree or pole is ready, each person takes hold of the end of a ribbon, and, in a circular motion, dances around the pole as the base becomes covered in colors!
Have a Bonfire
Bonfires are a tradition in Germanic culture on May Day. It was thought that the fire would provide protection from any harm. If you want to stick to traditions, these fires usually take place on April 30 into the early morning hours of May 1—just be cautious that the fire is kept under control. Storytelling and live music are a great way to get together around the fire and enjoy the coming of spring. Add in some fire-roasting treats like s’mores, and you’re guaranteed a good time!
Have a May Day Picnic
The coming of spring brings not only fresh flowers but also fresh fruits and veggies! You can’t have a picnic without food, so make sure to pile on the seasonal treats. In the northern hemisphere, that includes strawberries, blueberries, plums, snow peas, and broccoli. Get creative with these seasonal gems, and turn them into salads, desserts, or side dishes.