Wednesday, May 2, 2012

A Lost Tradition?




Yesterday was May 1.  When I was a kid, it was known as “May Day”.  I remember decorating and filling up “May Day Baskets” and then delivering them to my friends in the neighborhood.  Although I don’t remember it being a process, I’m sure it was.  Afterall, it involved creating some kind of vessel (some years they were more elaborate than others) to hold popcorn and other goodies.  Then, we piled our baskets into the little red wagon (when the spring weather was actually spring-like) or into the ol’ blue station wagon and delivered them to our friends. 

I was told that you deliver May Baskets to your friends as a welcome sign of spring.  You’re supposed to leave them hanging on the front door, ring the doorbell, and run away before they answer the door.  If your admirer sees you, they are encouraged to chase you and…. Give you a kiss!  (how scandalous!) 

Many people in this area have never heard of May Day—and very few still practice it.  According to what I’ve read on the internet, May Day began as a pagan holiday to celebrate the summer solstice.  Of course, the tradition changed with the spread of Christianity and May Day was even abolished in some European countries because of it’s secular roots.  Different European countries celebrate May Day in different ways but most celebrations or rituals involve flowers and ribbons—either in decorations, gifts, or shrines. 

Although I don’t know the entire history of May Day or the specific reasons we are supposed to give May Baskets to our friends and neighbors, I do know that I'm going to single-handedly bring back this tradition!  I'm bringing it back people!  Who doesn’t love a receiving a little “basket” (or Solo cup) filled with some yummies?  In our world, life just moves by so quickly & we're so wrapped up in our own little worlds—what a great excuse to go out of our way to drop off something nice for our friends. 

So yesterday afternoon, C and I decorated some green cups with stickers, poked pipe cleaners through some holes in the cups, and filled them with popcorn, M&M's, and a Tootsie pop.  We also decorated and attached a bright pink “card” to a straw and stuck it down into the cup.  Then, we drove to two different houses (both of C’s buddies have little baby brothers) and delivered our baskets.  Everyone loved them—and I’m pretty sure Charlie didn’t mind eating the left over popcorn either. 

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