Guest Author - Connie Krochmal
The sweetness of spring is most evident in May. Itís the perfect time to celebrate with some special flowers.
May Day is all about enjoying flowers and the beauty of nature. May baskets are a traditional kind of arrangement for this holiday. These can be free standing baskets that can be displayed on tables and other spots throughout the house.
In addition, hanging baskets can be created for entryways, doors, porches, and other key areas of the home. Put them where they can be admired and enjoyed throughout the day.
For May Day baskets, all sorts of spring blossoms are suitable. The baskets will need to have a liner so tabletops and the like donít get wet.
May Day, which is the first day of May, is a very special holiday. It has ancient roots. This was originally the day on which the ancient Romans honored Flora, the goddess of flowers. Roman art of the period shows her walking around the landscape scattering flowers as she goes.
On this occasion, the Romans held dances and parades in which flowers played a major role. The festival took place over a period of about a week from April 28th through May 3rd with the high point being May Day.
For this special occasion, the Roman slaves were set free for the day so they could take part in May Day festivities. However, they had to promise to return to their mastersí houses when it was over.
When Romans arrived in Britain, May Day took on some of the local Celtic customs as well. During certain periods of English history, May Day became one of the major holidays. These include the medieval and Tudor periods.
The May pole, which was decorated with garlands and flowers, played a key role in May Day celebrations.
Somehow in the American colonies, May Day never caught on in a big way, which is a real pity. We can all use some fun for a change. On the Celtic calendar, the holiday was known as Beltane.
In England, a May Queen was crowned with flowers on May Day. The May Queen is also called the Queen of May. In a similar vein, statues of the Virgin Mary were crowned with flowers.
Children played a very active role on May Day. A sketch from the Godeyís Ladyís Book from 1851 shows a mother placing a crown of flowers on a child.
For May Day, chains of flowers were very popular. Daisies and other blooms can be used. These are made by slitting the flower stem and inserting the next flower stem into the first one. To hold the flower in place, wrap the loose end of the stem around the chain.