Usually celebrated on May the 1st, May Day is the traditional festival of Spring involving morris dancing, singing, and cake.
“The earliest known May celebrations appeared with the Floralia, festival of Flora, the Roman goddess of flowers, held from 27 April – 3 May during the Roman Republic era, and the Maiouma or Maiuma, a festival celebrating Dionysus and Aphrodite held every three years during the month of May.”
May Day Traditions
Modern May Day traditions have commonly been celebrated with works of art, in schools, they would write skits, and have a May parade including dancing around a maypole. Older May Day Traditions also included adorning the Virgin Mary’s head with flowers.
Their tradition of giving “May baskets,” entailed leaving small baskets of sweets or flowers anonymous to neighbours’, kindly left on their doorsteps.
May Crowning/May Queen
The ‘May Crown’ would be bestowed on the May Queen, who was basically the personification of ‘May Day’. A young lady would be selected, and she would wear white to represent purity, and a tiara or crown. She would officially begin May Day by giving a speech and being crowned with flowers. And ride either on horseback or walk ahead of the May Day Parade.
The Maypole is erected to signify “…that the happy season of warmth and comfort had returned.” Their shape allowed for garlands to be hung from them and was first seen, at least in the British Isles, between AD 1350 and 1400 within the context of medieval Christian European culture. Its original significance has been debated for a long time, and still continues to be debated by folklorists. Dancers dance around the maypole on this day with ribbons attached to the apex.
Why not eat some cake and whip-out a bit of morris dancing today, and leave something out of generosity (Deliveroo some cake?) for your neighbour in the spirit of May Day!
If you know any local businesses that make sweets & cake, why get your orders in and support local!