In ancient times, people in the Northern hemisphere, set aside May 1st to celebrate spring. The earliest May Day celebrations appeared in pre-Christian times with the festival of Flora, the Roman goddess of flowers. May 1st was then considered the first day of summer. As Europe became Christianized, the pagan holidays lost their religious character and May Day changed into a popular secular celebration. Perhaps the best known traditions are dancing around the maypole and crowning the Queen of May. Once a widespread tradition in the late 20th century and now almost unheard of is the giving of “May baskets”, small baskets of sweets or flowers, usually left anonymously on neighbors’ doorsteps. Roman Catholics observe the month of May and May Day with various May devotions to the Blessed Virgin Mary. In Catholic school pageants Mary’s head will often be adorned with flowers during a ritual that is known as the May crowning.
A maypole is a tall wooden pole erected as a part of various European folk festivals, around which a maypole dance often takes place. This is primarily a tradition found within the nations of Germanic Europe and neighboring areas….It has been a recorded practice in many parts of Europe throughout the Medieval and Early Modern although it became less popular in the 18th and 19th centuries. Today, the tradition is still observed in some parts of Europe and among European communities in North America. The symbolism or the May pole has debated for generations but it is commonly thought now that it was designed as simply a part of the general rejoicing at the return of summer, and growth of new vegetation.
One of the most exciting times in nature occurs at the end of April and early in May when the leaf buds on bare branches wrestle for the sunlight as they begin to unfurl in all their magnificent greenery. The daylight hours have been growing longer since mid-March and temperatures have been steadily on the rise. April’s rain showers have nourished the earth and now the perennials we treasure begin to nudge their way to life through the fertile soil. On May 1st we are now half way between the spring equinox and summer solstice. This cross quarter day is the perfect time to begin a cleansing and releasing of the energies of the months gone by, and reaffirming and planting new seeds for the months ahead.
Metaphorically speaking this is the perfect point in the year to plant mental motivational seeds. The harvest will be six months from now and your seeds may be sown as such….
- Define your goals – five or ten ought to do it
- Prioritize – order them by how much they affect your heart
- Set a deadline – be your own boss
- Understand your strengths – be extra generous with these thoughts
- Recognize opportunities and threats – do you have any habits that might work to prevent your achievement? Two sided list – Start Doing / Stop Doing – 5 thoughts each
- Develop new skills – to get something you will need to give something in return
- Take action – write down 3-5 actions you will need to take within your defined timeframe
- Get support – list anyone who you can think of who would be able to help you achieve your goal
- Measure progress – Two sided list – my accomplishments (going well) / improvements (what needs to change)
Is there someone you know that would be thrilled to open their front door to an anonymously left May basket? I can think of one or two!
Good Luck – Be Bold – Be Brave – Be Well
Red small leaves of the maple Are clenched like a hand, Like girls at their first communion The pear trees stand.
Oh I must pass nothing by Without loving it much, The raindrop try with my lips, The grass with my touch;
For how can I be sure I shall see again The world on the first of May Shining after the rain?