It’s MAY! It’s MAY!…the Lovely Month of May!
TIME TO CELEBRATE!
May Day is a time of celebration and has been since ancient times. The earliest celebrations of spring appeared in pre-Christian times with the Festival of Flora, the Roman goddess of flowers, the Germanic countries Walpurgis Night celebrations, and the Gaelic Beltane, marking the beginning of summer.
Today, May 1st – May Day – is celebrated internationally with festivals, parades, May Poles, dancing, singing, FLOWERS, and ,,, cake? (Let’em Eat Cake!) . Today, too, May Day coincides with International Worker’s Day – a celebration of laborers and the working classes.
May Day may be best known for its tradition of dancing the maypole dance and crowning of the Queen of May. For me, it has always been about Flowers.
The giving of “May Baskets” — small baskets of flowers and/or sweets, usually left anonymously on neighbors’ doorsteps on May Day is a tradition I learned in childhood.
I have fond memories of my sister and I helping our mother make small ‘cone’ baskets filled with blossoms and then running around early in the morning on May 1st, hanging them on the neighbors’ doors…anonymously was a big part of the fun! I attempted to continue the tradition with my own children, but while living in the cold northern climes (and in a rural area) where rarely a blossom was in sight on May 1st. (and neighbors were miles apart!), I let the tradition fade away.
Still, I think of flowers on May Day, and might treat myself to a lovely bouquet! I prefer May Flowers -but any bouquet of blossoms will do!
May Flowers – Lily of the Valley – are sweetly scented, delicate tiny white bells. They are the ‘Flower’ of the month of May. In the ‘language of flowers’, the Lily of the Valley signifies the return of happiness. The scientific name, majalis or maialis, means “of or belonging to May”, and old astrological books place the plant under the dominion of Mercury, since Maia, the daughter of Atlas, was the mother of Mercury or Hermes.
Lily of the Valley is a popular flower for weddings. It was the flower chosen by Princess Grace Kelly to be featured in her bridal bouquet. Most recently, it was featured in the bridal bouquet at the Wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton.
Lily of the Valley is in the coat-of-arms of the Norwegian municipality Lunner, was the floral emblem of Yugoslavia, and also became the national flower of Finland in 1967.
Farewell to Winter – Spring is here!
Dormouse: Mel Turbyfill
Lily of the Valley: Agnes DeCrits