Living Arts Wednesday: May Day

April 29, 2020

April shower bring May flowers, And what do these May flowers bring? Happy thoughts and sunshine smiles. And wishes for a wonderful Spring.

On Friday it will be May 1st.  May Day is an old pagan holiday that has been celebrated since ancient Roman times. In the northern hemisphere, May 1st marks the end of winter, and is thus a time to celebrate the upcoming growing season. It’s also an occasion to honor Flora, the goddess of flowers.

The best-known May Day tradition is the maypole, a tall pole to which ribbons are attached at the top. Dancers, each holding a ribbon, weave their way around the base of the pole making a unique braided pattern.

In these days and weeks of staying home and social distancing dancing around the Maypole is not an option. However, this is a great time to begin a new family and neighborhood tradition of giving May baskets or May cones!  This involves leaving baskets or cones of flowers on the doorsteps or doorknob of neighbors. Traditionally, children would sneak up to friends’ front doors and leave a basket brimming with flowers on the door handle, ring the bell, then quickly sneak away before being caught. It is fine to leave a little note saying who the are from…” the flower fairies at 4 Terrace Street wish you a Happy May Day!”

Since most of us do not have a ready supply of baskets at hand to give away we offer how to make paper May cones! You can also use a glass jar filled with water and flowers and a few pretty ribbons..use what you have!!   

You will need:
Paper…size 8″ or 10″ square…your child can decorate the paper!
Glue or glue stick
Hole punch
Paper towel
Plastic bag
Fresh flowers and leaves
Handwritten note

Roll a piece of pretty paper ( scrapbook paper or construction paper) into a cone shape, and glue the edges together to seal it. When the glue has dried, punch two holes on opposite sides of the cone.
Tie the ends of a piece of ribbon through each of the holes to make a handle. Gather some fresh flowers. Put a wet paper towel around the flower stems and cover the towel with a plastic bag.
Here are some online directions with pictures.

Longtime Waldorf teacher, Betty Jones, in her book, “A Child’s Seasonal Treasury“, shares this May Song for you to sing as you walk to your neighbors!

Sing a song of May Day – Hi-dee-ho-dee-hey!
Showers of flowers from breezy bowers – Hi-dee-ho-dee-hey!
Dancers and prancers in the high grass – Hi-dee-ho-dee-hey!
Joyfully skip each young lad and lass – Hi-dee-ho-dee-hey!
Happy, oh happy May Day, May Day!
Happy, oh happy May Day – hey!

Note: This lends itself to a simple tune like, ” Sing a Song of Sixpence”





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