Did you know that it’s traditional to leave baskets of flowers on your loved ones’ doorsteps on the first day of May? In today’s germ-conscious environment, it might not be the best idea. But, there’s nothing to stop you from sending someone a virtual bouquet.
May celebrations began in the second century with the Festival of Flora, the Roman goddess of flowers. It included theatrical performances, carrying a bundle of wheat ears to a shrine, and competitive events. Ovid, a Roman poet, wrote about crowds pelted with beans and the release of hares and goats. Too bad they didn’t have smart phones to video the frivolity.
Today, May Day is celebrated in different ways throughout the world:
- Germans erect Maypoles covered in streamers, and women place roses or rice in the form of a heart at the home of their beloved.
- Greeks hang wildflower wreaths on their front doors.
- Several counties in Ireland light bonfires to mark the beginning of summer and grant luck to people and livestock.
- The Italians celebrate May Day with . . . wouldn’t you know . . . a romantic-themed feast.
- Poland marks the day with parades.
- Those in Wales sing May carols, dance, and officially open their village greens.
- In the U.S., several women’s colleges, including Bryn Mawr College and Brenau University, celebrate with outdoor parties.
Because of our current stay-at-home directives, many of these festivities will be canceled this year. This is not going to stop me. I’m starting my own tradition. Check out my writer Facebook page. You’ll see my May Day wish to you.
Do you have any May Day traditions in your region? Let me know in the comments below.
If you venture outside today, take photos of your favorite flowers and email them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll post my favorite next week.