Do you know why we celebrate May Day? May Day is the ancient festival to celebrate the beginning of spring and the return back to agricultural rituals. It is still a current traditional spring holiday in many European cultures. Dances, singing, and cake are usually part of the festivities.
I had completely forgotten about May Day until I looked at a blogger’s calendar of upcoming events to celebrate.
When I was young, I was a girl scout. My girl scout leader was my best friend Lori’s, Mom, and also our next-door neighbor. She was an unconventional Mom. She worked full-time. Running for a seat on the school board was quite unorthodox for a woman when I was young. Going to night school to become a lawyer was unheard of; but not for Mrs. Hart. While all the other moms stayed home, not Mrs. Hart.
Mrs. Hart loved to make crafts. She took us on nature hikes and we learned to make Sumac Tea from the berries along the nature trails we walked. She hosted the most elaborate Halloween parties. Mrs. Hart brought culture into our 60’s suburban kid lives. Her knack for teaching us a little bit about everything was uncanny. I thought she was just the most fascinating person alive.
One year, in early spring she told us about May Day and how it was a tradition to get up early in the morning and make little flower baskets and deliver to all the neighbors in secrecy. We were instructed by Mrs. Hart to sneak out of our houses at 6:00 am. The meeting spot was in her garage, where we would assemble our paper baskets filled with flowers.
I remember I couldn’t sleep the night before; so excited for this clandestine adventure. I went to bed with my clothes on so that I could quickly make my get-away in the morning. To this day I remember the stillness of that morning. Dew was still on the grass as it was starting to warm up. The sun just barely peeking above the houses; so very fresh in the sky. In my mind, the flowers were just so beautiful and I was so thrilled that we were bringing joy to the neighborhood Moms.
All of us girls quickly put together the most amazing little spring baskets and then quietly ran from house to house and hung them on the door handle. After we had finished our mission we slipped back into our homes and bed and waited for our moms to find their sweet little spring basket.
As an adult, I know now that Mrs. Hart had surely informed all the parents of this adventure. My Mom never let on. She put the flowers in a vase on our kitchen table. Every day that they survived she fussed over them, saying how pretty they were and “who in the world would leave her such a pretty surprise?” I would smile to myself knowing my little secret. It brought me great joy.
I wonder if Mrs. Hart isn’t partly to blame for my love of flowers and fancy. The reason I go nuts when I entertain. The reason why I was a girl scout leader for twelve years. The leader who went to summer day camp with the girls; who hiked and did crafts and put fresh flowers on our picnic table every day. My parties have been elaborate and crazy. Is her May Day adventure the reason that I’m so in love with fresh flowers in my home. Not just on May 1st but every day of the year!
How to Make a May Day Basket
May Day Flower Baskets
- Scrapbook Paper
- Spring Flowers – I used assorted bunches from Trader Joe's
- Plastic Bag
- Paper Towel
- Rubber Band
- Double sized tape or hot glue
- Roll your paper into a cone and adhere with hot glue
- Cut off the top so it is level, if you would like
- Trim your flowers so that they will just peek out of your cone
- Get a piece of paper towel wet and wrap around stems. Place the stems in a plastic bag and secure with rubber band. Trim the baggie so that you won't see it in your cone.
- Place the flowers into the cone and tape or hot glue your ribbon to your cone
- Tuck a card or hand written note into you May Flower Basket
I plan to celebrate May Day this year. It’s a fun little holiday that can bring a smile to the faces of my friends and neighbors who get a little flower basket from me on May 1st!
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