May Day - a celebration of Spring

sweetannie4u(midOK_z6b/7a)May 1, 2013

In medieval times, May Day was a day of celebrating Spring.

Maypoles of Birch or Larch were erected and participants danced around the pole singing, weaving colourful ribbons around the pole.

In my hometown in SoCal, we carried on this old, old tradition. The children in my little mountain community school did this every spring. We had the Maypole dance with the colorful ribbons. Girls and boys alike wore flower wreaths upon their heads and danced and sang songs as they wove the ribbons around the Maypole. We spent weeks making little baskets, woven from colorful materials and then filled them with lovely flowers (which we grew Pansies in our classroom). We added some "sweeties", usually sugar cookies, to our baskets on May Day the morning of the celebration. Each of us were to give the baskets we made to someone who needed cheering up and shown appreciation...tokens of love. Our teachers suggested shut-aways or old people who lived alone. Usually, like most children would I suspect, I gave mine to my mother or my Grannie, but one year I recall that I gave mine to an old woman who lived alone and kept goats. Everyone in the community just called her "The Goat Woman". She was so thrilled with my little token of love that she wept rivers of tears. Makes me cry just recalling it.
It was a lovely tradition, one worth continuing in our communities..
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
I looked out my window just now and saw two hummingbirds dart over under the rose arbor where I hung the syrup feeders a few days ago. The wild birds are singing and chirping and the breeze is busy in the new leaves on the trees. Fluffy white clouds are gathering - there may be rain later. The air is cool, but pleasant.
It is a lovely day for May Day.
Those old traditions are but fleeting memories.
Happy May Day!


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Beautiful memories sweetannie. I grew up in a big city with no May pole celebrations. In the 2nd grade we moved to a county school for 1 year and made plans for a May Day celebration with a May pole. It stormed that day so no May pole. I've thought about the disappointment of my 7 year old self often through the years.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2013 at 11:05AM
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Annie, I was just thinking about this tradition this morning. In our school district May Day was held the first week in May and in elementary school I danced around the May pole many times. It was a day when we didn't go to school and the festivities involved the entire community to a degree. There were many May poles set up in a large park and many people attended. I remember it as a very special day and loved getting dressed up.

I grew up in a milder climate than I now live in. Kids here would be wearing their winter coats as they danced around the pole as we still have that Alaska system keeping us cold!

    Bookmark   May 1, 2013 at 11:34AM
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Oh, Sandi,
How sad for that little girl.
They should have rescheduled it.

You just described how it was in my little town. No school the day of the festivities. There were many Maypoles. The ladies in the community baked lots of yummy things to eat and the music was provided by local volunteer musicians.
Some of the songs were well known, so the whole community joined in the singing. It was very mild climate there too, so we wore spring dresses and the boys shorts and short-sleeved shirts (girls had to wear dresses to school in those days).

The closing song for EVERY community event was:
"Good night Ladies; so long Gentlemen; farewell Everyone, We're going to leave you now." ...and everyone waved goodbye in the air

    Bookmark   May 1, 2013 at 12:28PM
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BecR(zone 9 CA 19)

Growing up, May Day was not a neighborhood maypole type festivity in my neighborhood. But, my mother and grandmother loved to celbrate Spring with fresh flowers and walks in the sunshine and I eagerly participated.

Yesterday, I carried on the tradition with a basket of flowers which I hung on the front door and bouquets of fresh picked roses from our garden in vases throughout the home. I have to place any fresh flowers bouquets in awkward places (up high) as one of our kitties likes to nibble them! ;-)

    Bookmark   May 2, 2013 at 6:44PM
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lola-lemon(5b East WA)

That's a very sweet memory Annie.
I remember when I was younger our school did these activities too. Weaving the baskets out of paper. making tulips from egg carton parts or egg shells and pipe cleaners.
The May pole always got tangled up for us though when we reeled. ! We always had to stop and have the teachers untangle it-- or reroute somebody and then we generally quit trying......
I always imagined it was supposed to look woven like a circus tent or something. It looked the best unwoven I thought.
Sandi- I think that the preparations for Mayday were some of the best parts! When you look back think of that!

    Bookmark   May 2, 2013 at 7:06PM
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