May Day – The Lusty Month of May

Ahh…the lusty month of May.
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 Still celebrated in countries across the globe, the 1stof May marks the end of the doldrums of a cold winter and rings in the beginning of Spring Fever.  The holiday is not celebrated as enthusiastically in America, but some small traditions have managed to hold fast. As a child I remember picking flowers with my mom every May 1st to give to her mother.  And though my Gran is now gone, the joy of those memories makes this a tradition I continue with my mom to this day.
 May Day began its roots in the as the Celtic festival of Beltane, the Roman festival of Flora (Goddess of flowers) and the Germanic festival of Walpurgis Night.  Traditionally the ancients celebrated this fertility festival by wrapping colored ribbons in often intricate patterns while dancing around a maypole or tree, setting a fire and passing cattle as well as couples through the smoke for good luck, feasting after winter hardship, engaging in fertility activities and good-natured competition among counties for the tallest and best maypole. With the coming of the Puritans, the pagan traditions were made to take on different significance, becoming more a day of merriment for children than for adults.
 The melding of these ancient, modern and various religious ideals has given us plenty of reason to celebrate the coming of Spring, whether it’s dancing around a maypole, bringing the girl of your affections a tree decorated with ribbons, a skinny dip in the ocean, giving your mom hand-picked flowers, the crowning of a May Queen, holding a carnival, a cross-country motorcycle rally, or just a good reason to practice fertility rites.
So go out pick a flower for a loved one, dance around with one you’d like to love, throw caution to the wind, and celebrate!
Do you have any May Day celebrations or traditions?

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