Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Today is May Day!

Because the Puritans frowned on such festivities in the New World, May Day is often overlooked in the US.  But the tradition has long been alive in Great Britain and Europe, and continues as a day of merriment for children. 

As with many customs, May Day, the “bringing in of the May” and crowning the May Queen have their roots in pagan rituals.  They all can be traced back to the Druids in the celebration of Beltane and the Romans and the worship of Flora.  Beltane represents the beginning of the half-year and the joy brought by the abundance of the spring and summer months.  Nov 1 and Samhaim begins the other half of the year.  After the Romans entered Great Britain, they brought their  5-day celebration, called Floralia (the worship of Flora, the goddess of fruit and flowers from Apr 28th to May 2nd ) and it was eventually interwoven into the seasonal celebration of the Druids.   With Christianity, the day became associated with agricultural feasts and since May 1 was the feast day of St Phillip and St James, they became the patron saints of agricultural workers.  The Roodmas was a Christian mass celebrated at midnight on May 1st.

Since ancient times, villagers have gathered flowers that grew in abundance in May to decorate a large tree that had been cut and had its branches removed to become the May Pole.  They also brought in flowers and fresh young branches to decorate their homes.  Today, children hold long, colorful streamers and dance around a pole while weaving in and out to decorate it.
I’m making some colorful and whimsical appliqué flowers and pots to join in the excitement of May Day.  This is a swap that is sponsored by The Scratching Post associated with Fat Cat Patterns.  Sindy Rodenmayer is changing her website and becoming more retail oriented, so if you haven’t visited recently, it’s worth another look.
These fabrics will be the basis for my swap pieces.  I’m busy cutting out the shapes today …  Wish me luck!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What fun memories I have of grade school (public school) where we actually celebrated May Day with sathletic events and a grand May Pole dance with many poles with maroon and white ribbons and we danced/skipped around them to fun music weaving the ribbons .. it was beautiful adn so much fun.