Friday, May 03, 2013

Published 8:31 AM by with 2 comments

The Tradition of May Day Baskets

Several people have expressed interest in hearing the history behind my family's May Day baskets. May Day is an ancient tradition dating back thousands of years, to the once pagan-then secularized celebration of spring on May 1st. Like many holiday traditions, various aspects were adopted by Christian communities with activities such as "May crownings" of the Queen of the May, Maypole dances, handing out flowers, etc.

Back when I was still pretty young, my mom would gather flowers from our yard and around the neighborhood (we had several sweet neighbors who always gave us free reign of their flowers in the yard and on the trees), draw and decorate small cards saying "Happy May Day!", and arrange the flowers in small green strawberry baskets.

Side note: Remember those strawberry baskets? Whatever happened to them? We haven't been able to find them for several years.

Then we would take the flowers to our neighbor's houses, put them on the doorstep or hang them on the doorknob, ring the doorbell, and run away to hide around the corner and watch with delight as the neighbors would open the door and exclaim, "Oh, what beautiful flowers! I wonder who put them there?" And then we would jump out and shout, "Happy May Day!"

In later years, we began delivering baskets to retirement communities, or making trips to friends who lived a short distance away. The element of surprise didn't matter too much; it was fun just to give flowers away as a celebration of springtime!

When I went away to college, my sister was a teenager, so the tradition came to a close as we busied ourselves with school and other pursuits. Now, we are beginning again during Harmony's first experience of spring. She was still a bit too young to help out with any of the creative fun, but we had several lovely friends over from church who were happy to help decorate the baskets that we made from craft supplies that we already had and left-over paper plates. We found printable tags with a May Day poem online. After decorating the plate cones, we attached the tags with our names on the back and a loop of ribbon to hang the baskets up, then put a coffee filter inside it. The flowers were in small bunches with the bottom stems wrapped in a wet paper towel, tucked inside a plastic bag.

Then my mom and I delivered the flowers (some from the yard, some bought on sale) to our friends who live in the local area. We wished that we had enough time/flowers/resources to take flowers to more people, but maybe we'll be able to distribute to a wider range next year!

We so much enjoy bringing a little joy of springtime to our friends. Does anyone else take part in spring traditions? Do you hand out May Day baskets? Tell us about it in the comment section!

My "moment" from this week is from our distribution of May Day flowers : )



Sofia's Ideas said...

May Day baskets? What a fun tradition! :) And your lovie is just so adorable!

Jennifer - The Deliberate Mom said...

Wow, so lovely! So much fun too!

Great picture of you and your babe!

Wishing you an amazing weekend!