May Day, that’s today, has strong connections to the ancient past. The Celts believed this day was the most important day of the year, celebrating with the fire festival of Beltane. This was the day that divided the year in half, going from the dark to the light. Building symbolic fires (bonfires) and dancing and walking around them, were a major part of the festivities, heralding the return of life and fertility. When the Romans came into the picture, they eventually included their five day celebration of Floralia, honoring the goddess of flowers, Flora, into Beltane. There are still modern-day celebrations of this spring fire festival.
For many of us, May Day, conjures images of dancing around the maypole that is decked out with colorful ribbons and streamers. The beginning of this tradition isn’t known, but it can be dated to medieval times, and maypole festivities still occur.
In the 19th and 20th centuries, May Basket Day was celebrated in the United States. People would fill baskets with flowers and sweets to leave on doors and porches of loved ones, neighbors, and friends.
More events have happened around the time of May Day. Some are positive, and unfortunately, some are not. You can read more about the history of May 1st in the treasure trove of History.com.
So, bring in some of those spring blooms if you can and put a lilt in your step. Spring is here until June 21st, the summer solstice in the northern hemisphere, which will give you even more opportunities to kick up your heels and fresh ideas for your storytelling.