The celebration of May Day, May 1st, has been going on for centuries,
but I never really understood its significance
beyond helping my mom fashion May baskets
out of construction paper some Springs.
photo from craftskaboose.com
We would fill them with fresh flowers
and then deliver them to a few elderly widows around town.
My mom never failed to remember those who might be alone or in need.
Even so, I was her delivery girl,
and I was always reluctant to make the long walk up to the houses to deliver the baskets.
I did like seeing the expression on the old ladies' faces
when they saw the flowers and waved to my mom to say thanks.
It meant so much to them.
So that memory is really the only reason I remember May Day.
But a gentle holiday devoted to the delights of flowers, friends, and warm summer days
possesses a certain charm.
photo from mayday2013.com
And every year, I make plans to celebrate May Day and my German heritage
not by delivering May baskets,
but by making some May Wine from sweet woodruff and strawberries.
I do now have sweet woodruff that has survived the winter,
but this May Day is dark and rainy,
and I don't feel much like celebrating this as the traditional first day of summer.
photo from weblogs.baltimoresun.com
(That May Day, also called Beltane, was the first day of summer in the pre-Christian era,
I didn't know. But according to an unverified source in Wikipedia,
the first day of Spring was February 1st,
the first day of Summer May 1st, and June 21st was called Mid-Summer.
I don't know about Spring being February 1st in the old days,
but I've seen more than a couple of sources saying May 1st was celebrated
as the beginning of summer--which sounds good to me.)
photo from loricurie.wordpress.com
If making May baskets isn't your cup of tea either
perhaps a different kind of cup is in order.
Here's an easy recipe for May Wine,
but there are many others on the internet, each different:
1 bottle of Riesling
1 bottle of champagne or sparkling wine
1 cup of fresh sweet woodruff leaves
Some recipes recommend first lightly warming the sweet woodruff
in a 275-degree oven just long enough for the scent to rise.
Place the leaves in the wine overnight to as long as 3 days - 7 days.
Add sliced strawberries before serving.
photo from chezbeeperbebe.blogspot.com
Happy May Day!