Happy May Day!
When we were kids why did we dance around this thing called a Maypole and give
baskets with flowers or candy to others on the first day of May? May Day...it's
a northern hemisphere holiday that, in pre-Christian times signified the start
of the warm season and celebrated fertility. Early celebrations were named the
festival of Flora, the Roman goddess of flowers, and the Walpurgis Night
festivities of the Germanic countries. It is also associated with the Gaelic
These pagan traditions were abondoned and Christianized, and now May Day is
celebrated as a day of merriment, mostly by children, in Europe and the U.S.
In European cities May Poles sometimes stay up all year long in a town sqaure or
park. More often these poles are temporary structures for May Day celebrations.
The sybolism behind the Maypole has been argued, but some scholars believe it
represents the world axis or sacred trees. The wrapping of brightly colored
streamers may come from ancient traditions of wrapping flowers around said
The delivery of May baskets, often filled with flowers, seem to go back to the
ancient festivals of Flora and are traditions carried on from our European
No matter where it comes from, or how it's celebrated, it seems that the thread
of May Day is all about having fun and being excited about the fact that the
warm months are ahead of us. So put a smile on and wish somebody a Happy May
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