May 1st is a long-standing spring festival in the Northern Hemisphere, but is also celebrated as May Day, the International Worker’s Day in many countries around the world.
Historical May Day associated celebrations include, but are not limited to:
The Celtic Beltane http://www.sacredfire.net/festivals.html
Walpurgis Night http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/1388545/Walpurgis-Night
The Roman festival of Flora http://ancienthistory.about.com/cs/rome/a/ludiflorales.htm
Historically and in the “big picture” just a little time ago, May 1st was considered the 1st day of summer and summer solstice was considered Midsummer. Thus most May Day festivities wove their myth and celebrations around welcoming summer.
An old lost custom of May Day was the giving of small baskets (May baskets) filled with sweets and flowers and usually left anonymously on doorsteps. What a beautiful custom. I for one, would love to open my door to a basket full of flowers.
Bulgarians celebrate Irminden (too many alternative spellings to list). They perform rituals such as jumping over fires and making a lot of noise to scare snakes. Irminden is quite focused on protecting people from snakes and lizards.
Equally enchanting is the Romanian celebration of Arminden which includes washing one’s face with morning dew and decorating with birch saplings.
The U.S. State of Hawaii has adopted May Day as Lei Day to celebrate Native Hawaiian culture. There is a lot of myth and folklore there that will be mined in future posts.
Wishing all of you a great May Day and a figurative basket of flowers on your doorstep.
“Be like a flower and turn your face to the sun.” – Kahlil Gibran