Monday, May 1, 2017

Celebrate May Day

One of the many special memories growing up was celebrating May Day with a basket.
A May Basket is a flower-filled basket given out as gifts by adults and children in the tradition of the ancient Roman and Druid holiday of May Day. 

May Day which is May 1st is a centuries-long celebration of spring turning into the pleasures of summer. May Day baskets can be given to friends and family, as well as to elderly neighbors or care facilities.

Perhaps you recall making a basket, setting it on your neighbor's doorstep or hung it from the front doorknob, ringing the bell and running like crazy so no one knew it was you leaving it. 
In school we'd weave strips of construction paper to create a basket. We'd add tissue paper flowers, candy and packet of seeds.
Several years later I worked at a school where we would make up May Day baskets to distribute in the neighborhood. Each basket included a cheery note to brighten someone's day. The baskets were hung on front doorknobs or set out on the front steps.

This came to me yesterday from a friend who knows how much I enjoy the day.
Inside the bag were cookies and this note with some interesting MAY trivia

  • May's birth flower-Lily of the Valley
  • In 1990 USA census May was the 264th most common first name. 
  • The month May was named for Maia, the Greek goddess of fertility. 
  •  May was once considered a bad luck month to get married. There is a poem that says "Marry in May and you'll rue the day". 
  • On May 1, 1931, the Empire State Building was officially opened. 
  • Minnesota was admitted to the Union on May 11th 1858
  • The Puritans frowned on May Day, so the day has never been celebrated with as much enthusiasm in the United States as in Great Britain. But the tradition of celebrating May Day by dancing and singing around a maypole, tied with colorful streamers or ribbons, survived as a part of the English tradition. The kids celebrating the day by moving back and forth around the pole with the the streamers, choosing of May queen, and hanging of May baskets on the doorknobs of folks -- are all the leftovers of the old European traditions.

It's not to late to celebrate the day to spread some cheer-here are some easy ideas to get you started   
April Poetry Month may have ended but the importance of reading and sharing poems hopefully will continue throughout the year. These two poetry anthologies by Caroline Kennedy get my highest recommendation.  Truly great family gifts to treasure.  She collaborated with Jon Muth on both books. His exquisite rich watercolors complement each poem. 

The following poem was found at the end of the book "Poems to Learn by Heart" 

Catch a Little Rhyme
by Eve Merriam

Once upon a time
I caught a little rhyme

I set it on the floor
but it ran right out the door

I chased it on my bicycle
but it melted to an icicle

I scooped it up in my hat
but it turned into a cat

I caught it by the tail
but it stretched into a whale

I followed it in a boat
but it changed into a goat

When I fed it tin and paper
it became a tall skyscraper

Then it grew into a kite
and flew far out of sight ...

Eve Merriam, “Catch a Little Rhyme” from Catch a Little Rhyme (New York: Atheneum, 1966). Copyright © 1966, 1994 by Eve Merriam. Reprinted with the permission of Marian Reiner.

and rounding out the weekend with Bella's latest posting from WWN

1 comment:

  1. Happy May Day, Sue! How sweet of your friend to leave a May Day treat for you and how sweet of you to brighten my morning with this post. I have been the past recipient of May Day baskets from the children of friends.

    Randy and I were married in May. It will be 35 years on May 15.


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