So how did you celebrate May Day?
Did you dress up in white and dance around a maypole?
Did you bathe in the morning dew??
Folklore suggests anyone who ‘bathed’ in the May Day dew would have beautiful complexion for the following year. Rolling around in the dew would bring flawless skin and protect the person from freckles, sunburn, wrinkles, pimples and spots!
“a maid who rises early on May morning and washed in the dew from the hawthorn tree, will ever be handsome be.”
Men who washed their hands in the dew were said to be gain skills in tying knots and operating locks"
With temperatures down at 3 degrees here this May Day morning there was absolutely no chance I was going to go rolling in the morning dew whatever the beauty benefits may be!!
Its been a really cold start to Spring. Well apart from two weeks ago when it was the hottest day in April for yonks!! Us British do seem to have a fascination with the weather, but is there any wonder when it is so unpredictable. Yes its sunny by day, and even warm if out of the wind but then the night comes and the temperature plummets. My greenhouse is seriously overcrowded. Seedlings are growing well in the heat and even having sometime playing outside to harden off, but with frosts still possible they have to wait before being planted out in the 'big patch'. They really are bursting at the seams and I'm not wasting more compost in putting them in bigger pots as there is no room for bigger pots in the greenhouse. Its like a little jungle in there and with plant labels long gone it is a bit like 'guess the seedling'!
Things aren't fairing much better in the polytunnel. Lots planted out and looking happy, but not exactly growing tall and bursting into flower. Plenty of buds with some things 'thinking' about flowering, but they cant seem to get past the thinking stage and move on to 'doing' Hard to believe I've been picking sweetpeas on previous May Days when this years efforts are still knee high to a grasshopper. I know it will all come right in the end and soon I'll be complaining I have more flowers than Chelsea, but for now its rather frustrating for an impatient flower grower like me.
So excuse me for keeping my clothes firmly on and foregoing pimple free skin as I'd be more at risk of getting chilblains this May.
The first day of May was once a great cause for celebration: people would gather to welcome the onset of summer and celebrate the abundance of the growing time. It has been celebrated since ancient times, and quite rightly so. May Day is traditionally a Pagan festival, Belthane, which says goodbye to winter and marks the beginning of summer.
A tradition which has fallen out of favour but I feel should be reinstated is the creation of “May baskets”. These were little gifts containing sweets or flowers and anonymously left on friends and neighbours doorsteps.
I knew nothing of this lovely tradition until I read an Instagram post by the stylist Hannah Bullivant. (You should follow her too!) https://instagram.com/p/BiPmKunD0hP/ I then started to read more and really liked the idea.
So you pick and forage little posies of seasonal flowers then anonymously leave them on your neighbours doorsteps to wish them well for the start of the new season. How sweet!
As usual I’ve missed the boat for this year but let me assure you that this custom will be on my May to do list for next year. Hopefully these “forget me nots” will make sure I don’t forget.
So friends and neighbours - watch this space! Of course it's anonymous and you wouldn't recognise that wrinkle free flawless person anyway!