May Day by Phyliss Miranda

 

 

 

When I thought about today being May 1st or May Day, I planned to write a quick blog on the history of May Day.  Now, how hard is that?  A tad of facts, the May Day Pole, and some lovely pictures.

Well, I’ll tell you all one thing, the history about the day halfway between the spring equinox and summer solstice is breathtaking.  I found so much information on its history that it was difficult to pare it down.  So, here goes.

May Day originated as a pagan festive holy day celebrating the first spring planting.  The ancient Celts and Saxons celebrated May 1st as Beltane, which translates to the day of fire. Why the day of fire? Bel was the Celtic god of the sun.

Here are a few tidbits I found interesting:

  • May was once considered a bad luck month to get married. There’s on old saying, “Marry in May and you’ll rue the day”.
  • May in the Northern Hemisphere is similar to November in the Southern Hemisphere. So, “It is the third and last month of the season of spring”, centuries ago.
  • May’s birthstone is the emerald which symbolizes success and love.
  • In Old English, May is called the “month of three milkings” referring to a time when the cows could be milked three times a day.
  • The Indianapolis 500 car race and the Kentucky Derby are held in May.
  • The United Kingdom celebrates May as the National Smile Month.
  • The last week of May is Library and information week.
  • Dances, singing and cakes are typical of the celebration.

To my surprise, when you go back into history May 1st was the date chosen for the International Workers’ Day, not to be confused with Labor Day.

Some of the modern day celebrations include dancing around the Maypole, a lot of pageantry, including “floral wish”.

May Day is strongly associated with flowers, partly because of the availability.  Since the ancient days in England there was a custom of “bringing in the May”.  This was why people would go to the woods and pick flowers to bring into the houses to decorate.  They would also make garlands, a custom that has survived still today.  The garlands were also used by the children going door to door begging. That could be done only in May; otherwise, begging would be offensive.

On the first day of May, English villagers woke up at daybreak to roam the countryside gathering blossoming flower and branches to create the towering maypole set up on the village green.  This pole usually made of the trunk of a tall birch, was decorated with bright field flowers.  The villagers then danced and sang around the maypole, accompanied by a piper.

I couldn’t resist adding this custom.  Facewashing in May Dew:  Washing the face with May dew was believed to restore beauty.  This is why in the Ozark Mountains, a cradle of American folklore, girls used to nurture a belief that having their faces washed with the early dawn dew on May Day would help them marry the man of their choice.

Now, May Day and a MAYDAY are two separate things, as most of us know.  MAYDAY was officially recognized in 1948, and is the official call of urgent needs.  MAYDAY is called three times, so there’s no mistaking the signal of a life-threatening emergency.  It should be noted that a false MAYDAY call comes with a hefty fine and up to six years in prison, since it’s considered a criminal act in many countries.

Are you as surprised as I was researching the history behind May Day and MAYDAY?

I’m so thrilled that my second book in the Kasota Spring Romance series, Out of a Texas Night will be out on my next blog day.  It’s available for preorder at Amazon.

Tonight I’m selecting one reader who leaves a comment to receive a copy of their choice of any of my eBooks and I promise my May blog, at the end of the month, which is also my release date, will be filled with fun and prizes.

 

 

Phyliss
A native Texan, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Phyliss Miranda still believes in the Code of the Old West and loves to share her love for antiques, the lost art of quilting, and the Wild West.

Visit her at phylissmiranda.com
Updated: April 30, 2018 — 8:32 pm

27 Comments

  1. Phyliss what a wonderful May Day blog. You definitely gave us many many tidbits of information to absorb. I need some of that May dew for my face. Oh to be young looking again would be wonderful. I can’t wait to read your new book. I received your email for the arc, but can’t get it downloaded. I’ve tried and when I go to the website to download it. It continues to say server down. So I’ll keep trying. I’ve never downloaded a book
    Through Kensington, I’m so lost on what to do. But don’t fret. If I can’t get it I will be buying it when it’s released and reading & reviewing it, so all’s good.
    Love you sweet lady.
    Happy May Day To You!!

    1. Hi Tonya, so good to hear from you. Hope you are feeling better. I enjoyed learning more about May Day, but I don’t think there are many places in the US right now that have enough flowers for us to celebrate the day! Our daffodils bloomed and I believe they lasted about two days because of the freezing nights and warm, windy days. Agree with you about the May dew on my face. I want to rush up to the Ozarks and see if it’ll get rid of some of my wrinkles!!! I’m still working on getting everything in the right order for the downloaded ARC for my new book. I’m confused myself. But, I’ll be getting it resolved, hopefully, later today. I think I didn’t send a direct link that was in another email. Happy May Day to you my sweet Kansas friend. Phyliss

  2. I knew only a few of these little gems. Oh I can imagine young ladies washing their faces in dew! I Hate to think of the gathering of that dew.

    1. Hi Susan, good to hear from you. I thought the info I found were fun facts and myths! I guess it’d depend on where they got their dew, as to whether it’d be very sanitary. But at my age of wrinkles, I think I’d try it! LOL Take care of yourself, my friend. Phyliss

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    Very interesting and educational blog! I love May flowers after April showers. I’d love to read your book, I read your parts in several anthologies but never a full length book of yours! A giveaway is an awesome way to find a new author to add to my go to authors list! I’m relatively new to the reading world after decades of not reading. I started reading again in November 2016 and I’m on my 129th book now! Loved this blog!

    1. Stephanie. You would love Phyliss’s book. The Troubled Texan is a great place to start. It has Cowboys, set in Texas Panhandle, and a great “who done it mystery” which are 2 of your & my favorite genres together.

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        Thanks for the recommendation!

    2. Hi Stephanie, how cool that you’ve already read 129 books. I hope one of my single title books will be your 130th book! I love spring flowers, but here in the Texas Panhandle until last week we went with only a quarter of an inch of rain for six months! We’re getting a little rain here and there, but not enough. Do you read eBooks or prefer mass market/rack size? I’m always interested in what type of books folks like. I love the feel of a paperback, but it’s also convenient to get an eBook. Thanks for the nice compliment about the blog. I found May Day very interesting and never would I have guessed it goes back so many centuries. Take care and hope to hear from you again soon.

  4. That was really interesting. I have never really put much thought into May Day.

    1. Hi Janine, I was totally like you about never really giving any thought to May Day, but of course, knew about the May Pole but never put two and two together. It’s a very interesting subject for sure. Have a great day! Big Texas hugs, Phyliss

  5. Interesting blog. You sure can’t do any spring planting today is this part of the country. The weather is still a little cool for that. I have never though much about May day before.

    1. Hi Miss Quilt Lady, so good to hear from you. I thought May Day tidbits were interesting when I began researching and there was a ton of info I didn’t have room for. I’m totally with you about no planting for a while yet here. I haven’t even gotten my flowerbeds ready for planting. I’ve got some geraniums to pick up next week, but I think they might well stay in my living room with plastic under them for a few weeks yet. Just too cold and windy at night right now. Have a great day, my friend. Hugs, Phyliss

  6. Thanks for such an interesting blog! Spring fever hasn’t hit me yet but today is supposed to be warmer here and it’s May Day! So who knows what could happen? If nothing does, maybe I’ll feel compelled to shout MAYDAY instead! 🙂

    1. Eliza, how funny! I love the way you pulled both May Day and MAYDAY together. Too cool. I think most everybody is having a little lack of spring fever because of the weird weather. I hope it gets warmer at your house. Take care. Hugs, Phyliss

  7. Phyliss, this is very interesting and I loved the facts you found. Lots of great information. I’ve never known anything about May Day.

    Congrats on the upcoming book release! I can’t wait.

    1. Hi Linda, my BFF, thanks for encouraging me to scrap my other blog idea and doing a May Day one. I don’t think many in the US celebrate May Day, but the history is fascinating. I can see a story that included a May Day celebration. Have a great afternoon and I’ll see you later. A big hug to you, P

  8. Happy May! Thanks for sharing such interesting tidbits! 🙂

    1. Hi Miss Colleen, so good to hear from you. I hope I had enough information to give us all more thought of May 1st. May is a big birthday month for my family and friends. Happy May Day to you and yours. Hugs, Phyliss

    2. Hi Colleen, good to hear from you. I’m glad you liked the blog. Take care of yourself, my P&P friend, Phyliss

  9. Interesting facts thanks for sharing.

    1. Hi Kim, thanks for reading my blog and commenting. I hope you have a great day.

  10. Happy May Day! Thank you for the fascinating post!

    1. Hi Caryl, thanks for dropping by and leaving a comment. Happy May Day to you, too!

  11. I have heard of some of those tidbits of information, but not all. I have had the privilege of delivering flowers to a friend of a friend and not being able to say who they were from. As children, we made May baskets for our friends, leaving them at their door and running away hoping we wouldn’t get caught. ? It’s too bad some of the May Day traditions have been lost.

  12. Hi Rachelle, thanks for stopping by and commenting. I really wanted to get into the making up of baskets and leaving them on friend’s doorsteps as one of the customs, but just couldn’t fit it all in. I’m with you on losing such wonderful traditions. I hope you have a great evening.

  13. I’m afraid I have to agree with getting married in May being bad luck. Unfortunately, doing so turned into a very bad experience.

  14. May is known as birthday month in my family–too many to name here.

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