Although not as popular in America as it is in European countries, May Day is a day of celebrating spring, fertility and femininity. It is celebrated on May 1st and the history of this holiday goes back to Roman times as a festival of flowers. This was a five-day festival in honor of the Goddess Flora with offerings of flowers, dancing, ringing bells, May Queens and dancing around the Maypole. The Maypole was erected the night before when the men would strip down a birch tree and plant it on the ground. Long ribbons were tied to the pole and each dancer would hold onto a ribbon while dancing around the Maypole.
The tradition of celebrating May Day by dancing and singing around a maypole, tied with colorful ribbons, is still practiced today. Another European tradition that survived is hanging May baskets on doorknobs. People make small baskets filled with treats or flowers to give secretly to friends and neighbors. It is customary to leave the basket on the doorstep of a neighbor or friend, ring the doorbell and run away. If the friend catches you before you get away, you must give them a kiss.
May Day baskets are fun and easy to make. Most baskets are made from a piece of paper rolled into a cone shape. You can also use small Easter baskets and embellish them with ribbons and bows. May Day is a great holiday to get your children involved with arts & crafts.
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