Celebrating May Day with May Baskets

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celebrating may day

Celebrating May Day with May Baskets

Get info about celebrating may day with may baskets. Growing up on the east coast May Day was a big deal where all of our friends and families would put May baskets on each other’s doors.

Since moving to California many years ago, I don’t see much of this today, but for me, I like to keep the tradition alive. I have bought these darling baskets and I will be hanging them on my friends’ and neighbor’s doors.

So what is May Day?

May Day, also called Workers’ Day or International Workers’ Day, Is a day commemorating the historic struggles and gains made by workers and the labor movement, observed in many countries on May 1. In the United States and Canada a similar observance, known as Labor Day, occurs on the first Monday of September.

And what are May Baskets?

 

People would leave a basket or paper cone with spring flowers and sweets on each other’s doorsteps, usually anonymously.

This tradition was popular throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, especially with children or loved ones. The custom was to knock on the door, yell “May basket!” and then run. If the recipient caught the giver, he or she was entitled to a kiss.

The May Day basket is still a cherished tradition for some Americans though it’s less known today. To make a simple May basket, you can use an actual basket or simply take a colored piece of paper and fold it into a cone; then fill it with wildflowers! ( put them in a baggie with a wet paper towel first) If you don’t have colored paper, even a rolled-up paper plate would do.

You could also fill a real basket with little gifts such as flower seed packets, cookies, or candy. If you don’t have a basket, an empty milk carton or seed pot would also do the trick.

celebrating may day

Here are the steps I used to make my May Day Baskets
    • I cut a few flowers from the garden
    • Arranged them together and wrapped them in a wet paper towel
    • Insert into a baggie and seal up as much as possible, (add some water before you close )
    • Add some moss to the basket and inset the baggie behind the moss
    • Add a bow
    • Hang on a neighbors door to bring them some cheer!

celebrating may day
celebrating may day
celebrating may day

Here are a few ways you too can enjoy May Day

Here are some joyful May Day traditions marking the return of spring and the renewed gift of life.

  1. Once upon a time, May Day was the belief that washing the face with dew on the morning of May 1 would beautify the skin and bring good luck. We say, go ahead! Walk outside and sprinkle your face with the morning dew (or snow!). For sure I am going to try this one!
  2. On May 1, people in Britain welcome spring by “Bringing in May” or gathering cuttings of flowering trees for their homes. Bring in branches of forsythia, magnolia, cherryblossoms, lilac, or flowering branches that are blooming in your yard.
  3. Make that May Day Basket of flowers! Get the kids involved. Have them make the baskets and you collect the flowers.
  4. May 1 in Hawaii is called “Lei Day,” and people make pretty handmade leis. Leis are garlands or wreaths that are often made with native Hawaiian flowers and leaves. Nowadays, they are given as a symbol of greeting, farewell, affection, celebration, or honor, in the spirit of aloha. Make a lei or a garland for yourself or a friend.
  5. Kids would go barefoot on May Day for the first time. Whatever you age today, walk barefoot in the morning dew (or snow?). Encourage the kids to do the same!
  6. In parts of Ireland, people would make a Maybush, which typically was a thorn bush or branch decorated with flowers and ribbons. Give it a try and get out in the yard and decorate a bush with ribbons.

May is a beautiful month full of promise and joy for all of us. Take a good look at the garden to see what is popping up and enjoy all of the spring splendor.

XO

Wendy

celebrating may day

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2 Comments

  1. This is beautiful Wendy! I love the idea, the tradition, and your gorgeous presentation! I May have to start this tradition….pun intended! 🙂

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