Merry May Day! Sweet Salutations on Beltane.
A day that involves flowers – you know how easily I can get behind that.
The first of May has been celebrated for millennium. The ancient Romans celebrated Flora, their goddess of flowers; and most often the emphasis of May Day celebrations is springtime fertility rites.
May Day/Beltane (or the night before) is celebrated as a cross-quarter holiday, half-way between the equinox and solstice. Often a component of dancing and bonfires is included. At one time all the household fires were doused and then relit from the community bonfire. There’s something about that image that really appeals to me. Starting anew after a good Spring cleaning and connecting with community through a shared resource.
It’s also suggested that at this time the veil between the worlds is thin. But rather than having easier access to the ancestors as is true at the cross-quarter of Samhain, this is the time to peek into the faery world.
I also love the much-later tradition of May Day baskets filled with flowers and left anonymously on neighbor’s doorsteps. I love this vintage image of a European robin doing the honors.
Robins always make me smile as that was my dad’s childhood nickname, and whenever I see a robin I say hello. But in any case, what’s not to like about a day where custom had you delivering baskets of flowers in secret?
May Day also is celebrated as International Workers’ Day and I’m proud to be a member of a family that has worked hard to promote fair labor practices and workers’ rights. Today is a perfect day to celebrate your neighborhood florists, and all the workers of the world.
But adding even another layer to the festivities today is that it happens to be “Poem on Your Pillow” Day. Celebrated annually on the first Tuesday of May, this year it happens to coincide with May Day. You can read more about it here. But, of course, to my mind today’s pillow poem should definitely have a flower theme.
As we start a new month, I’m welcoming these words from Hafiz:
”Spring and all its flowers
now joyously break their vow of silence.
It is time for celebration, not for lying low;
You too — weed out those roots of sadness from your heart.”
I can’t wait for the day when we can teleport objects by thought or keyboard stroke. I’d certainly wing a May Day flower basket to your front door for you to discover, and slip a poem on your pillow. However since current technology hasn’t caught up to my fantasy quite yet, here a couple of links of some May Day things you might enjoy.
- While the actual Smithsonian exhibit on orchids was some time ago, here’s an overview with lovely photos. I especially point your attention to the wonderful specimen called Venus Slippers, which is also know as Fairy Slippers. One of my faves, and I know the faeries approve.
- I’ll be making Green Goddess Grilled Cheese Sandwiches today. Doesn’t that sound like a perfect way to celebrate all the green goodness of May Day?
What about you? Are you celebrating May Day? Wish you had some Faery Slippers? Like the idea of a poem on your pillow? Do tell – you know I love to hear.