May Basket Contest 2020

May 1, 2020

May Basket Contest!

 

This year, the St. Michaels in Bloom committee will host a Town-wide May Basket celebration with prize ribbons for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners. Judging will be on May Day, May 1st, rain or shine. Just send an email to stmichaelsinbloom@gmail.com with your name and address before April 30th if you would like to be judged! The Village shop has lovely plants and Grauls always has cut flowers. Be creative!

 

May Basket Day!

 

Ahh, the “Lusty month of May”.  How many of us remember that song from Camelot?

The song of spring with its connotations of earth’s rebirth after a long dark winter, and celebrated with songs, dances, the blossoming of flowers and new love. The origins of the May Day celebrations are ancient indeed.  Pre-Christian Roman festivals dedicated to Flora, the goddess of flowers, were held in early spring, In pagan Ireland the seasonal festival called Beltane, a loose translation of the word “fire”, celebrated with blessing of the crops, fertility rites, and bathing of faces in morning dew to preserve youthful beauty. 

 

The emergence of Christianity in Europe created a more tame, christianized , version of some of the former pagan festivals and abandonment of others. The Catholic Church honors Mary, the mother of Jesus in the month of May. Germany celebrated Walpurgis Night honoring St. Walpurga who helped St. Boniface bring Christianity to Germany in the 8th century. In medieval England, May Day was celebrated as the official coming of spring, with Morris and colorful Maypole dancing.  Costumed players led by Robin Hood and Maid Marian, along with a merry band, followed a piper from town to town. In general, the more charming traditions often included the giving of flowers, sweets and other small gifts to loved ones or favorites.

 

The Puritans, who came to settle America eschewed such celebrations as frivolous and therefore the charming tradition never became as popular in our society as it has still is in England. There the day is still celebrated with maypole dancing, weaving colored ribbons around a maypole, crowning a May Queen and surrepticiously hanging May Baskets, after dark, on doorknobs.

 

In America however, there are pockets of May Basket Day’s observance. People still leave small surprise containers, filled with flowers, candies or other treats on neighbor, family or special friend’s doorknobs as a surprise to delight the recipient.

 

In our area of the country, the Annapolis May Basket Day is a community-wide event celebrating the return of spring. Throngs of visitors annually come to see the varied and beautiful efforts the townspeople and merchants display on homes and businesses.