April showers bring May flowers, and Miffy couldn’t be more excited to welcome in the month of May! Around the world, “May Day”, on the first day of the month, is celebrated as an end to cold weather, and to mark hope for new beginnings looking toward the summer season. Miffy recently learned in school about a couple fun May Day holiday traditions, and she can’t wait to try them out this year with her friends and family. You can learn about the history of the Maypole and May Day baskets, and how to make them so you can try them out with your loved ones below!
The Maypole dance is a springtime tradition of Western Europeans. The folk dance is done around a pole decorated with flowers and ribbon to symbolize a tree. Each participant grabs a ribbon and walks in a circle around the pole until it is wrapped in colorful ribbon. Practiced for generations, the Maypole tradition dates back to the dances ancient people used to do around actual trees in hopes of harvesting a large crop that fall.
Creating Your Own Maypole:
- 2 paper towel rolls
- Recycled cereal box
- Colored paper
- Recycled aluminum foil rolled into a ball
- Artificial flowers (or stickers, jewels, however you’d like to decorate your Maypole!)
- Multiple colored ribbons in 2-foot strips
- (Parents only): Hot glue and glue gun
- Double sided tape
- Have a parent hot glue two old paper towel rolls on top of each other
- Cover the paper towel rolls in colored paper, and secure with double sided tape.
- Cover an old cereal box with colored paper and secure with double sided tape to create the Maypole base. Have a parent hot glue the paper towel roll to the base.
- Tape or glue the ribbons to the top of the pole. Roll recycled aluminum foil into a ball shape, and glue to the top of the pole. Glue artificial flowers to the ball.
- Tape or glue flowers and other decorations to the base of the pole.
- Turn on some tunes and have fun dancing your way around the Maypole!
May Day Baskets:
The history of May Day Baskets dates back to the Roman festival of flowers, which was a five-day celebration starting May 1 in honor of Flora, the Goddess of flowers. A big tradition of the festival was giving friends and loved ones baskets of flowers to wish them a happy summer season. Today, people make small May Day baskets filled with treats or flowers to give secretly to friends and neighbors. It is customary to leave the basket on the doorstep of a neighbor or friend, ring their doorbell and run away, but you can also wait until they come to the door to give them their basket and wish them a happy May Day.
Creating Your Own May Day Basket:
May Day baskets are fun and easy to make. Most baskets are made from a piece of paper rolled into a cone shape. You can also use small Easter baskets and decorate them with ribbons, bows and stickers. Fill baskets with candy, popcorn, flowers, small toys, or anything you think your neighbors and friends may enjoy. Miffy hopes you have a “Hoppy” May Day!