How to Celebrate May Day
The First of May
Even if you don’t live in a village surrounded by flowery meadows, you can still celebrate May Day on the first of May. Around the world, traditions vary, but many of these most recognizable rites of Spring evolved in medieval England.
Surprise with Flower Cones
Like the country girls who woke at dawn to gather wildflowers in baskets to be left on doorsteps, you can mark the return of nature's lushest hues by giving flowers to friends and neighbors. Decorate paper cones with ribbons, then fill them with blossoms to hang over doorknobs. To keep the blossoms fresh, wrap the newly cut stems first in damp paper towels, then with a square of tin foil.
Make a Maypole
Traditionally, a maypole made from a birch tree and decorated with flowers was erected on the village green. The day culminated in ritual dancing around a pole to acknowledge and tame the high spirits brought on by the perfumed air warmed by the sun. High-spirited children? Tame them with the challenge of creating the woven ribbon patterns that emerge as the dancing progresses.
Wave a Wand
If making a maypole is too much this year, you can still dance with ribbons. Lay a silk ribbon over the end of a dowel, slide on a wooden bead, and start waving.
Don a Flower Crown
The fairest of maidens was chosen as Queen of the May and male Morris dancers with bells strapped to arms and legs provided the rhythm for the girls who circled the pole. You don’t need to be May Queen (or a flower girl) to wear a crown of blooms. Weave one for yourself or your favorite little princesses.
Drink a Strawberry May Punch
Traditional May punch calls for strawberries, lemonade, white wine, and herbacous woodruff. We recommend skipping the woodruff and toasting the season with strawberry lemonade. Ours is nonalcoholic, but you can always add vodka.
Make a Maypole Cake
Whether or not your plans include dancing around an actual maypole, we recommend you complete the celebration with this playful edible version.