Among Celtic people the celebration of May was called Beltane, meaning “bright fire.” The root word “bel” means bright, whether associated with fire or with a light such as the sun. This festival occasion was designed as a celebration of the return of life and fertility to a world that has passed through the winter season.
The children will have a May Day celebration at school later in the month with music and a May Pole, but we wanted to let our kids have an experience of sharing flowers as a celebration of Spring.
May flower customs
Hundreds of years ago, May Day (May 1st) marked the first day of summer and a celebration of flowers. Even today, many cultures celebrate May Day and the changing seasons through the exchange of flowers. It was common at one time to leave flower bouquets (May Day baskets) anonymously at the front doors of your neighbors. http://rhythmofthehome.com/spring-2011/spring-flower-seasonal-crafting/ has some simple bouquets. We will had supplies ready for these and the hand held tussie-mussies. Posies, nosegays and tussie-mussies date back to the sixteenth century. These miniature, handheld bouquets are filled with aromatic herbs and flowers. These dainty ‘talking bouquets’ became popular because they held hidden messages based on the symbolic meaning of the plants.
Many flowers were picked the morning of our EVE event.
The flowers and herbs smelled great!
Posies ready to deliver.
The gallant Sweet William is the center of this posy.
We only bought some daisies, carnations and a dozen roses. The rest were picked locally.
Daisy – for cheer & innocence Pink Carnation- for encouragement Yellow Rose- for friendship Lemon balm- for health Rosemary- for remembrance Oregano – for happiness, health & money Dandelion- wishes come true Sweet William- forever lovely & gallantry Sweet pea- for tenderness Thyme- for starting a new project Hawthorn – the May flower, protection Ivy- for fidelity, love & friendship Honeysuckle- for generous affection Periwinkle- for sweet remembrances Clover – good luck, good education
Festivals Family and Food by Diana Carey and Judy Large
Tussie-Mussies the language of flowers by Geraldine Adamich Laufer
Beltane springtime rituals, lore & celebration by Raven Grimassi
Garden Witchery by Ellen Dugan