May Day (May 1), is a holiday rich in history and tradition celebrating the return of spring. May Day has its roots in astronomy because we are about half-way between the spring equinox and the summer solstice.
Early celebrations of May Day were based around agriculture when the sown seeds started sprouting and the cattle were driven out to pasture. Special bonfires were lit and both doors of houses and livestock were decorated with yellow May flowers.
Later, there were festivals called “bringing in the May” with the gathering of wild flowers, the weaving of floral garlands, the crowning of a May king or queen and dancing around a decorated May pole.
Many people would make a paper basket or cone filled with fresh flowers and sweets and leave them on each other’s doorsteps anonymously. The tradition was to knock on the door and yell, “May Basket!” and then run. If the recipient caught the giver, he or she was entitled to a kiss.
A fun project for you and your children would be to make some May baskets to brighten up your neighbors’ or special friends’ day. A simple May basket can be made by folding a colored piece of paper into a cone and filling it with wildflowers. You could also use a real basket and fill it with flower seed packets, home baked goodies or pretty trinkets. The important thing is that finding a May basket on the doorstep will certainly bring sunshine to anyone’s day!
The Mom on the Side website has some really cute ideas for May Day baskets. Not only are there clever ways for making May baskets, but also a long list of ideas for May basket fillers – both for kids and adults. You can check out her site by clicking here.
– Becky Lynn is a writer for EllisDownHome.com. She and her husband Bob enjoy spending time with their 8 grandchildren and traveling. Becky loves cranking up the music and heading to the kitchen to try out new recipes or cook for an upcoming party. She is passionate about continuing to be a life-long learner!