As a child growing up in a small’ish rural community in Nebraska, I remember with fondness the fun and excitement that was “May Day”. I am astonished how many people have no idea what I’m talking about when I’ve brought this up in my adult years and I have to wonder, is this a lost tradition? Was it a tradition only known in certain areas of the nation? Both?
For those of you who don’t know, or who have forgotten after all these years, May Day presented an opportunity to share treats with the ones we love AND add a whole lotta fun in the mix. In the days leading up to May 1st we would spend time putting together May Day Baskets with little treats in them. They weren’t fancy or complex, usually a disposable cup of some sort filled with sweets or other inexpensive treasures. Then, when May Day arrived (on May 1st) the fun really began!
I always remember May Day landing during the week, which is obviously impossible, but that’s how the memory is stamped in my head. So, anyway, school would let out and we would race home to get the festivities started. Mom and Dad would load us up in the car and drive us around to the homes of our friends and family (unless they lived in our neighborhood, in which case, we set out on foot). They would drop us off and park just down the street. We would set the basket on the doorstep, ring the bell, and dash off. The recipient of the May Day Basket (if they were home) would race after us, and if caught, we were met with kisses, hugs or pinches — depending on who caught us. My grandmother handed out the sweetest hugs and kisses. I’m certain my cousins (who were all boys with exception of one) relished in pinching!
This would continue, one house after another, until all the baskets were delivered and then we would return home…usually to a wonderful pile of treats others had left for us on our doorstep while we were out. But, maybe the best part was when my grandmother brought one to me and I got to chase HER!
Every year when May 1st rolls around I remember this tradition and wish I had thought of it sooner so I could give life to it once again (or bring it to the area in which I now live, where people look at me as though I’m speaking a foreign language when I talk about “May Day”). I will have to set a reminder on my calendar for next year, so I can remind us all well in advance and we can get our ducks in a row and make May Day a ‘thing’ once again!
I promise if you have younger children, and you make this a tradition in the years to come, it will be one they won’t forget! Honestly, it’s right up there with Trick or Treating…maybe even better!
In honor of May Day, here is a treat for you from my garden. Spring bulbs make their appearance and warm my heart — I hope they will do the same for you.
Happy May Day!