01 May, 2012

Happy May Day!

Hi everybody! If you didn't already know, today is May 1 better known as May Day! Now I didn't really know that much about May Day so I thought I would look into it and you would be surprised at all that I found! :) Did you know that May Day has it May Day is related to the Celtic festival of Bealtine and the Germanic festival of Walpurgus night. May 1 falls exactly a half a year from November 1. The earliest celebration of May Day can be traced back to Flora the ancient Roman celebration in honor of the Roman goddess of flowers. Traditional British May Day rites include Morris dancing, crowning of the May Queen and celebrations involving the Maypole.

 Did you know that because of its ties to paganism, May Day was abolished by the Puritans during the years of 1649-1660? On May 1, 1561 in France King Charles IX received a lily of the valley as a lucky charm, every year after that he decided to offer a lily of the valley to each woman in the court. At the beginning of the 20th century, it became custom to give a sprig of lily of the valley, a symbol of springtime, on May 1. The government permits individuals and workers' organisations to sell them tax-free.

 Now, all these facts are nice but how does this pertain to my blog you ask? Well, the more romantic traditions of May Day are what I really want to talk about! In Germany, May 1 is celebrated by the delivery of a maypole, a tree covered in streamers to the house of a girl the night before. The tree is typically from a love interest, though a tree wrapped only in white streamers is a sign of dislike. Females usually place roses or rice in form of a heart at the house of their beloved one. It is common to stick the heart to a window or place it in front of the doormat. On Leap Years it is the responsibility of the females to place the maypole. All the action is usually done secretly and it is an individuals choice whether to give a hint of their identity or stay anonymous.

In some parts of the United States May Baskets are made. These are small baskets usually filled with flowers or treats and left at someones doorstep. The giver rings the bell and runs away. The person receiving the basket tries to catch the fleeing giver. If they catch the person, a kiss is exchanged.

Oh to celebrate these traditions of May Day, I find it so romantic to wake up on the morning of May 1 and look out your window and find a tree covered in streamers only to wonder who put it there. I love all the traditions surrounding May day and I love the coming of spring and the fresh flowers and pretty much everything about May Day. So there is your history lesson today! Go give some lilies to your beloved or leave a tree or a basket outside someones door and see what comes of it. Happy May Day everyone! :)

Did you know that Kate Middleton carried a lily of the valley bouquet at the royal wedding on April 29th two days before May Day?