• Jace Shoemaker-Galloway

May Day

May 1 is May Day, an annual “holiday” celebrated in a variety of ways depending where you live. Some folks observe May Day with floral festivals and parades while others recognize May Day as an important day for the labor movement. People in the 50th state celebrate “Lei Day” on May 1 by honoring Hawaiian tradition, heritage and culture. And for others, May Day signifies the coming of spring and springtime fertility.

May Day traditions include the Maypole, beautiful May Day baskets and Victorian-inspired Tussie-mussies. Back in the day, children would make May Day baskets and fill them with beautiful flowers or delicious treats and leave the filled basket on someone’s doorstep, anonymously. Some children would knock on the door or ring the bell and run away before the recipient opened the door while others would wait and hide. If they got caught, they'd receive a great big kiss from the recipient.

The Maypole was a tree stripped of its branches or wooden pole decorated with ribbon, streamers, flowers, fruit and/or wreaths. Folks would gather around the pole, which symbolized the end of winter, strength and/or prosperity, and weave the ribbons around the pole as they sang and danced.

Tussie-mussies, or nosegays, are cone-shaped holders filled with fragrant herbs or a lovely bouquet of flowers.

In honor of May Day, why not start your own tradition and create a one-of-a-kind May Day basket or other May Day-inspired crafts? May 1 is also Mother Goose Day.