The trees are blossoming, the flowers are blooming, and summer is finally not far off. After a long and grueling winter â€“ longer than usual I might add â€“ we have finally reached spring time, and May Day is a celebration of the coming of summer and warmer weather, a time to express hope and joy. Summer doesn't officially start until June, but May Day gives us the chance to get our festivities in early! There is a lot to celebrate in the Month of May, including two bank holidays. Although 1 st May is traditionally May Day, since the seventies it has been celebrated on the first Monday of the month â€“ 6th May!
How to get your May Day celebrations underway
Dance around the May Pole
The May Pole has been traditional in villages around England for hundreds of years. A young tree is cut down and stuck in the ground in the village to mark the start of summer, when the weather is fine and the ground is ready for planting. Lots of flowers decorate the top of the maypole and many different coloured ribbons are attached and flow down. Each dancer takes a ribbon and as they skip around the pole the ribbons wind around in a lovely pattern â€“ that is if they have done enough rehearsing beforehand! The tallest maypole was erected on the Strand in London in 1661, measuring over 143 feet high!
Morris Dancing is a traditional English folk dance popular throughout May. It has been around for hundreds of years, passed down through rural villages. The joy of springtime is expressed through the dancers' lively skips, the jingle of bells on their ankles or knees, the click of their sticks and the waving of their handkerchiefs. Along with their own percussion, they dance to traditional folk instruments such as drums and accordions. Get your bells on â€“ our tea towels make great substitutes for handkerchiefs!
Other interesting and peculiar facts and traditionsâ€¦
Girls used to wash their faces in the morning May Day dew in their gardens, believing it would grant them beauty for the rest of the year.
In the north May Day was seen as a late April Fools Day.
In the village celebrations, a woman is crowned May Queen, and is seen as the human embodiment of Flora, with a beautiful crown of flowers.
In some parts, May Day is called Garland Day. Hoops are decorated with garlands of flowers and a doll is fixed in the centre to represent the goddess of Spring.