A bunch of May I have brought you
And at your door it stands.
What does the first of May make you think of? May poles, ribbons and pretty dresses, perhaps? Or maybe it’s the old wives tale about getting up at dawn to wash your face in the morning dew. There are lots of complicated, intertwining traditions, most of which are now long forgotten.
These days, most of us just hope for a day of good weather.
But we can still enjoy May Day in its very simplest form. The desire to celebrate spring and spread some joy never goes out of fashion.
Last year I wrote about May Day traditions, and this year I’m revisiting the subject.
One very sweet May Day tradition from the nineteenth century were the floral garlands made by children. These garlands were carried around the village by children, who would sing and dance at people’s doors.
In Lark Rise to Candleford, Flora Thompson remembers that:
on the last morning of April the children would come to school with bunches, baskets, arms and pinafores full of flowers – every blossom they could find in the fields and hedges or beg from parents or neighbours
These flowers were woven round a wooden, bell shaped structured, carried about on sticks.
I’m not about to resurrect this tradition (although it could be rather lovely if you live in village), but how about talking a little of its spirit and re-interpreting it for today? I love the idea of using flowers to spread a little joy around the neighbourhood.
So, this May Day I’m going to gather flowers and greenery from my garden and make posies. The children are going to help, and we’re going to deliver them to our neighbours. All you need are a few empty jam jars and some gathered blooms and blossom.
Tie on a label and leave one on someone’s doorstep to make them smile!
If you’d like to share your photos on Instagram please use hashtag #abunchofmay – I’d love to see what you make!