May 1 is also known as May Day in some parts of the world. This holiday has been celebrated for thousands of years; it likely started out as a pagan celebration of the spring, fertility and the new year (this was before the current calendar came to be). Now, children and adults in various parts of the world, mostly in Europe, observe various traditions on the first of May. While we don’t typically celebrate it in America, you could do some of the fun activities this year. If you don’t have time today because the holiday falls on a Wednesday, feel free to put it off until the weekend; maybe you could even combine it with a Cinco de Mayo celebration! Here are some ideas:
Decorate a maypole. While our town centers don’t have maypoles, you can get a similar effect by decorating a small tree, or even a big branch. In parts of Germany, boys decorate a tree and leave it at the house of the girl that they love or have a crush on. Maybe your husband or partner will take it upon himself to decorate a tree for you, with the kids’ help! Otherwise, choose a tree in your yard and decorate it with streamers, real or artificial flowers and garlands. You could get your neighbors involved and have a may tree contest; each family can decorate a tree in their own front yard. Or if you live near a park or a community center, maybe you could do it there.
Make a basket for your front door. One of the special things about May Day is that it welcomes the advent of spring and the warmer weather. It’s already been spring for about six weeks now, but it hasn’t felt that way in some areas of the country! Now that it’s warmer, it’s time to celebrate those May flowers that the April showers (including snow showers!) were helping to grow! Gather up lilacs, tulips, roses, lilies, daffodils or whatever flowers you have in your yard, and fill a pretty basket with them. To help them stay fresh longer, replant them in a pot, then place the pot in the basket. Hang it on your front door and welcome spring along with any guests or visitors. You could also hang it on the doorknob of a neighbor, as this is another May Day tradition. Don’t get caught, though, or you’ll owe your neighbor a kiss!
Throw pennies into a wishing well. Whether you have (or make) your own, or use a public fountain, follow the traditions of English children. In London, children would go from house to house collecting pennies, which they later threw into a wishing well. The pennies would be donated to charity after the day was over. While your neighbors might not want to give up their pennies, you can still throw a few handfuls into a well, particularly one that does donate the proceeds to a good cause.
Will you be observing May Day today or later this week? Let us know what you’ll be doing! And Happy May Day!