May Day posies
As wild and wonderful as winter can be, the coming of the summer months is something to embrace.
With it comes the warmer, longer days and that beloved sunshine. Of course, it's also a time when the gardens bloom, the hedgerows start to buzz with life and the fields, greenhouses, vegetable patches and allotments are alive with colour and bounty. Nature certainly puts on quite the spectacle, one that never ceases to bring an uplift in spirits year after year.
To celebrate the coming of summer, there’s an old pagan tradition that’s slowly being revived. Along with celebrating fertility of soil, May Day meant villages and towns joining together and a May king and queen crowned, dancing around a maypole – and leaving sweet little May Day posies on friends’ and neighbours’ doorsteps.
The earliest recorded May Day celebrations took place in pre-Christian times with a festival which honoured the Roman goddess of flowers, Flora – if you’re Cornish, you will know all about Flora Day in Helston. May Day traditions fell in popularity in the 20th century, with the significance of fertile crops decreasing and pagan rituals becoming restricted. Although the traditions continued and of course today there are still many Morris dancing groups with maypole dancing with its ribbons and bells, too.
If you would like to celebrate the coming of summer, why not create your own May Day posies and give them to friends? Source your flowers from your own garden, buy British blooms or responsibly source from local wild spots. It’s all about local, beautiful flowers and greenery. Writers Hannah and Lou have some great ideas for creating posies. Jam jars, paper cones and bakers twine all work wonderfully well to hold your collections and then given to friends, they are sure to bring sunshine. It’s also nice to leave a posy outside your own door, just for a flash of colour when you get home from your day’s adventures.
Bit of politics: In 1978, the Labour government introduced the May Day bank holiday – hooray! This was nearly abolished in 2012 by the Conservatives, in favour of a bank holiday in October. May Day is also known as international workers’ day, as it has often been a time for demonstrations by socialist, communist and anarchist groups.
Have a wonderful bank holiday weekend whatever you do!