Happy May Day



Many of you may think what the Heck? Don’t you mean happy May? Because today is May first.

No, I mean Happy May Day!

Ever since I was a little girl, “May Day” has been, perhaps, a delightfully silly, but very special “holiday” to me. A slightly old fashioned Northern Tradition. If you are a “Northerner” you might get why May 1st is a day to celebrate, after all it might mean that the snow is finally done, (and I did use the word might). That the ground is finally thawing, spring flowers like tulips, daffodils, narcissus, Lilly of the Valley and violets have raised their tiny heads and are spreading their sunshine and beautiful fragrances for all to enjoy.

If you are a Southerner, like most of my friends now, you don’t get the “Big Deal”. After all its MAY, we have been enjoying the spring flowers and have had our gardens planted since mid-March.

As a kid, my Mother introduced me to the May Day basket tradition. We would take colored construction paper and glue to it a paper doily, add some cut out flowers, then shape it into a cone and add a handle.CANDY May-Day-Basket We would then fill it with popcorn, candy, nuts, and sprigs of fresh flowers and hang it on the doors of our neighbors.  The tradition being you put it on the door, knock and then run. The recipient would come out and chase you, to steal a kiss.

According to a great article entitled:  A Forgotten Tradition: May Basket Day that I found on NPR, it was a way for a girl, or a boy, to show someone they had a crush on them.

We lived out in the country, so that meant that my mother would drive us to our neighbor’s farms and I would get out and deliver them. Mind you I was probably only 5 or 6. But even as I got older, my friends, the Pepera Sisters and I would make baskets with crepe paper daffodils.

One year, I was probably 10 or 11, I made a basket and rode my bike on the gravel farm road from my house to the paved road. I drove past my mother’s best friends farm to where there was a creek that ran in the spring time along the road.  There were wild violets that grew there. The water was cold and rushing, the spring air cold and bright. I picked the white with blue centered violets and purple ones. I tucked them very carefully in the front white wicker basket of my sisters 1960’s era wide rimmed blue bicycle. Then, watching out for the occasional farm vehicle, I rode to Shirley’s house to deliver my basket. Such fond memories.

FLOWERS IN MAY DAY BASKETThis year I had planned to make some little May Day baskets of my own  ( I found this cute set of templates on a Blog called “Skip to my Lou” ) and get up early today and put them on the doors of Cate and Lu. Just as a reminder of how much I appreciate their friendship and camaraderie. AS in my usual fashion, I am a bit of a procrastinator, and well, life has a way of sneaking up on me and then zooming right on past. And today, when I woke up, I realized it is MAY DAY. ARG!

So, friends, enjoy my virtual MAY DAY BASKETS and wishes to you! Happy May Day!

5 thoughts on “Happy May Day

  1. leighchardonnay says:

    I grew up in the South and don’t remember celebrating May Day. It wasn’t until my husband surprised me one day shortly after we first started dating by having a basket of daisies delivered to my office wishing me Happy May Day. He didn’t know the story behind it just that his older sister always celebrated it. Thanks for informing us southerners who missed out on this lovely tradition.

  2. CrusinCate says:

    When I first moved to Oklahoma, many years ago, I was a Camp Fire girl. We made May Day baskets and we had a Maypole! This post has me recalling fond memories and in need of some historical research about the history of each tradition. Thank you for sharing!

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