What Do You Know About May Day? Some Ways Other Cultures Celebrate.

May Day Throughout The World Is Celebrated As An Awakening.

By Melissa Shrader May 1, 2017

May Day Fun Facts and Traditions!

If you are like me and have a little one who loves to celebrate something every day. I love to have some ideas on hand or at least some information on what other places do and where the holiday came from.

Today I’ve chosen May Day as something my daughter and I will learn about.

Did you know that May Day is something that many cultures celebrate? They call it different things but they all have the same thing in mind, celebrating spring. May Day was celebrated in festivals to celebrate fertility in all things (soil, livestock and people too!).

In France King Charles the IX of France received a Lilly of the Valley as a lucky charm. After that he gave Lilly of the Valley to all the women of the court in spring. In the 20th century it became custom to give a sprig of it as a symbol of spring on May 1st.

Germany celebrates with bonfire’s the night before and by wrapping a Maibaum (may pole) with ribbons in a dance around the pole. Some say the history of the May Pole that the tree with streamers is delivered overnight to a girl from an admirer showing love and intent to court, but if the streamers were all white this meant dislike.

In Ireland, Beltane or Mary’s day was celebrated with bonfires to banish long nights and welcome spring.
Calendimaggio or Cantar Maggio is a seasonal feast to welcome spring in Italy. This is a magical propitiatory ritual often performed during an almsgiving in which an exchange of gifts (usually eggs, wine food or sweets) and a Maggi singing auspicious verses to the inhabitants of the houses offering the gifts. Italy being so romantic is also know for the Maggio songs being very diverse but mostly singing songs with strong romantic themes or of the arrival of spring.

Greece offers Maios (Maius in Latin) which took it’s name from the Greek goddess Maia the goddess of fertility. This day celebrated the final victory of the summer against winter as a victory of life over death. Today many celebrate this holiday by putting a flower wreath decorated with wild flowers over a background of green leaves and hang it on either an entrance or a balcony where it stays till a midsummer’s night. In past celebrations youth would light bonfires and fuel the fires with these wreaths then jump over them in a celebration called St. John’s fires (Celebrated as the sum sets June 23rd on the eve of St. John’s Feast June 24th).

These are just a few traditions from Europe but Spring is celebrated World Wide as an awakening, a triumph of summer and life over winter and death. However you celebrate spring one thing is clear, the days are getting longer, the kids are getting more excited to get outside, and we as parents are excited to be able to get out and do some fun activities with our kids too

Happy May Day!

Please feel free to tell us some of our May Day traditions and where they originated!