Don’t you just love May? I mean think about it… May signifies the end of school, warmer weather, (April showers bring…) May flowers!, summer’s just around the corner (finally!), and of course May 1st = May Day Baskets!
As a kid I loved this fun little tradition of filling up styrofoam or plastic cups (or even those little green plastic containers strawberries used to come in?!) with candy and popcorn and leaving them on the steps of all your friends around the neighborhood! It seemed like everyone waited until after school to drop them off because it was especially fun when you’d come home from making your deliveries to find several had been left on your step! I’ll forever associate stale popcorn with May Day! 🙂 Sometimes we would even make them all crafty and creative with decorations on the cup and of course a pipe cleaner for the handle. I’m so excited because this is the first year that M is going to leave May Day Baskets on the front steps of her little neighborhood friends (super huge thank you to my mom for the cute idea and all the materials for this year’s baskets!!)! All this planning for and reminiscing about May Day got me to thinking about how this little tradition came about in the first place… so, I did a little research! 🙂
For hundreds of years, May Day has been celebrated by cultures all over the world as the beginning of summer. People who are tired and fed up with the cold winter weather would use the day to signify and welcome warmer weather, sunshine, flowers, etc. In ancient Ireland and Scotland, festivals were held because they were thought to improve crops and livestock reproduction. In later years, however, people participated in traditions such as crowning a May Queen to lead the day’s celebrations, dancing around the May Pole and gathering flowers and soaking up the sunshine. May Day Baskets were made by children and filled with flowers and candy and secretly left on the porches of neighbors in the early morning hours. It was believed that if parents and their children went outside early in the morning of May 1st and covered their face with the morning dew they would be more beautiful and blessed with a healthy, prosperous summer.
Another story about the origin of May Day Baskets comes from Roman, German and Celtic traditions that honored the Goddess of Flowers. On May 1st, the cultures celebrated the Goddess and the hope for Spring by gathering wildflowers. Children then filled baskets with these flowers and left them on the door steps of their elderly neighbors to brighten their moods and spirits.
Today, many neighborhoods across the country still honor the tradition of May Day Baskets, filling them with candy and leaving them on the porch of neighborhood children. No matter the origin of the tradition, how fun to spend the time with your kids decorating and filling baskets, running all around making your deliveries and teaching them the joy of brightening the day of someone else!
Here are some super cute May Basket ideas I found online:
Happy May Day!! I hope you have a fabulous first day of May celebrating warmer weather, sunshine and of course May flowers! I wish you all nothing but health and prosperity this summer!!