01 May 2012

My Favorite Day of the Year

How many of us really know the origins of May Day? Most of us know that it is the 1st day of May. I know that it means 20 more days until my birthday. But do you really know where and why it all began??


The earliest May Day celebrations appeared in pre-Christian times, with the festival of Flora, the Roman goddess of flowers, and the Walpurgis Night celebrations of the Germanic countries. It is also associated with the Gaelic Beltane. Many pagan celebrations were abandoned or Christianized during the process of conversion in Europe. A more secular version of May Day continues to be observed in Europe and America. In this form, May Day may be best known for its tradition of dancing the maypole dance and crowning of the Queen of the May. Various Neopagan groups celebrate reconstructed (to varying degrees) versions of these customs on May 1st.

The day was a traditional summer holiday in many pre-Christian European pagan cultures. While February 1 was the first day of Spring, May 1 was the first day of summer; hence, the summer solstice on June 25 (now June 21) was Midsummer. In the Roman Catholic tradition, May is observed as Mary's month, and in these circles May Day is usually a celebration of the Blessed Virgin Mary. In this connection, in works of art, school skits, and so forth, Mary's head will often be adorned with flowers in a May crowning. Fading in popularity since the late 20th century is the giving of "May baskets," small baskets of sweets and/or flowers, usually left anonymously on neighbours' doorsteps.[2] (Taken from Wikipedia).


I remember, as a kid, picking wildflowers on May 1st every year and leaving them for someone to find. It was always an exciting day for me. The flowers consisted primarily of dandelions, but on occasion we would find other flowers. Mom and grandma were the main recipients. 

I also remember singing this song:

Here We Go Round The Maypole High,
The Maypole High, The Maypole High,
Here We Go Round The Maypole High,
Let The Coloured Ribbons Fly,
Let The Coloured Ribbons Fly.

See Lasses And Lads Go Tripping By,
Go Tripping By, Go Tripping By,
See Lasses And Lads Go Tripping By,
Let The Coloured Ribbons Fly,
Let The Coloured Ribbons Fly.

1 comment:

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