May Day Celebrations

Let’s go back in time today…to when we were all in grade school and had to learn to dance

the May Pole Dance.

Do you remember learning this dance?

When I was in the first grade I brought home a letter from my teacher

with instructions for my mother to teach me how to skip.

It seems I was chosen to dance the May Pole Dance that year and hadn’t

quite mastered the art of “skipping.”

I remember my mother teaching me how to skip in our driveway.

May Day celebrations appeared in pre-Christian times with the festival or Flora,

the Roman goddess of flowers and the Walpurgis Night celebrations of the Germanic countries.

Many pagan celebrations were abandoned during the process of conversion in Europe, however,

a more secular version of May Day continues to be observed in Europe and America.

In this form, May Day may be best known for its tradition of dancing the maypole dance

and crowning the Queen of the May.

In the Roman Catholic tradition, May is observed as Mary’s month; the mother of Jesus

and is usually a celebration of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Works of art, school skits and other celebrations often included

Mary’s head being adorned with flowers in a “May Crowning.”

Also popular were the giving of May Baskets which were small baskets of sweets

and/or flowers usually left anonymously on neighbor’s doorsteps.

I remember making May Baskets in school and filling them with paper flowers to bring home

to place on the doorknob of our house or to bring to a neighbor’s house.

So how about YOU?

Do you remember dancing the May Pole Dance or

making a May Basket to bring to your neighbor’s home?

Share with us your memories!

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