Mayday, Mayday — It’s May Day

May 1 is upon us. By tradition, May Day is a celebration of spring. May Day began as religious ceremony celebrating the spring gods. Over the centuries, the religious holiday slowly became secularized as its popularity grew.

As the holiday became adopted among Europeans, the secular nature turned to a celebration of springtime fertility. Towns and villages began celebrating the fertility of soil, livestock and people. In keeping with the spirit, seeding among farms was generally completed, giving laborers the day off.

May Day has become a unique holiday. Its long history gives it legs to be celebrated among different cultures. Yet, the way it’s interpreted has grown and evolved over many years. With May Day looming in the near future, maybe it’s time to dust off some old traditions while creating our own for this spring holiday.

Celebrate with a Traditional Maypole
A traditional staple of May Day, maypoles are built and decorated in celebration of the spring festival. Maypoles are large decorated poles that are then danced around with attached ribbons. Although the true meaning of maypoles has been lost with time, it’s believed maypoles are another form of symbolic celebration of the springtime.

Not everyone has a 30-foot wood log lying around to make a real May Day pole. Instead, designate a special tree or area to decorate around your community to display your creativity.

Update Your May Day Baskets
May Day Baskets are the American take on May Day celebrations. Traditionally, these small baskets are filled with flowers or candy. The giver then leaves the basket on a person’s doorstep, knocks or rings the doorbell, and runs away. If the person receiving the basket catches up with them, traditionally, a kiss is exchanged.

Don’t be afraid to change from the norm. Offer friends different treats at their doorstep or an odd stipulation for being caught.

Clean Up in Time For Spring’s Return
Keep with European customs of May Day and celebrate the return of vitality among nature. Get out and plant a tree. Or clean up unnecessary trash among your community. Help to make spring’s return special by doing your part.