May Day is celebrated on May 1st as a welcoming of the return of Spring. The day is rooted in agriculture, falling in between the Spring Equinox and Summer Solstice. May Day is a time to celebrate the blooming of flowers, warming of the ground and connecting with the changing seasons. Here are some ways to celebrate May Day with children!

So many holidays now are being commercialized and marketed towards buying gifts, while getting further and further from their natural origins. It is important to create and sustain culture, traditions and rituals with children and families not revolving around consumerism. In doing so, children develop a strong sense of belonging within their family and community, they practice empathy, kindness, and awareness of others, while being mindful and appreciative of the simplicity of a new day, season, or time with loved ones. May Day is celebrated on May 1 as a welcoming of the return of Spring. The day is rooted in agriculture, falling in between the Spring Equinox and Summer Solstice. May Day is a time to celebrate the blooming of flowers, warming of the ground and connecting with the changing seasons.

May Day celebrations can be seen across the globe. For example, in Scotland and Ireland the day is celebrated with a bonfire and the washing of one’s face with morning dew at sunrise. The tradition of the May Pole where young people would skip around a pole in the center of a village holding colorful ribbons attached to the top of the pole, is celebrated in England. In Hawaii they call May 1 Lei Day, where you make a flowered necklace and wear it all day to represent the Aloha Spirit of the Islands. In Finland you, will find people having a picnic or out for brunch and eating funnel cake as a celebration of May Day. Here in the US, making May Baskets of flowers to leave on the doors of friends, family and neighbors is a tradition still practiced today.

Celebrating May Day with your family can tie into your cultural roots or pave a new way to celebrate Spring and appreciate the Earth. Here are six ways you can create meaning and ritual with your family the week of May 1st this year, and every year. It is never too late to start a new tradition!

Make your own May Day Basket

Materials:

  • Paper plate or card stock paper
  • Markers, Crayons, or watercolor paints
  • Paper towel
  • Plastic baggie or plastic wrap
  • Ribbon or string
  • Hole punch
  • Stapler
  • Scissors

Directions:

Allow your child to decorate a paper plate or piece of cardstock with the drawing material of their choice. Roll the completed paper into a cone shape and staple. Make a hole on either side of the top of the cone and use ribbon to create a hanger for the cone. Gather flowers and greenery outside from trees, bushes, and the ground (mindfully collecting and showing appreciation for the abundance). Wrap the cut stems in a moist paper towel and place in a baggie or wrap with plastic. Place the bouquet in the paper hanger. Add a handmade Happy May Day card if you choose. Go to a friend, family, or neighbor’s house (unannounced) hang the flowers on the doorknob, ring the doorbell and run away! Your children will get a kick out of this part and it could not be more suitable for the socially distanced world we are currently living in.

Picture1

Image from: https://www.skiptomylou.org/10-simple-may-day-baskets-to-celebrate-may-day/

Make a Flower Crown

Materials:

  • Scissors
  • Flowers or vines
  • Twine or bread ties

Directions:

Gather flowers or vines (forsythias are abundant in New England and work well, along with willow and Ivy) and make an abstract circle, using the twine to tie them into place. Place other wildflowers if desired. Wear with pride!

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Image From: https://www.facebook.com/sarahssilks/photos/pcb.10161127283064988/10161127281049988

Listen to and sing a traditional May Day Song

My favorite is “My Roots Go Down” by Sarah Pirtle Listen to the song here:

https://childrensmusic.org/songs/environment/101/my-roots-go-down

The lyrics are:

CHORUS:

My roots go down, down to the earth.
My roots go down, down to the earth.
My roots go down, down to the earth.
My roots go down.

Many new verses have been created:

* I am a pine tree on a mountainside.
* I am a willow swaying in a storm.
* I am a waterfall skipping home.
* I am a wildflower pushing through stones.
* I am a dolphin leaping high.
* I am white pond lily healing you.
* I am a mouth tasting life.

Go Barefoot!

Get outside and let you little ones (and yourself!) be barefoot in your yard or a safe grassy place. Talk about how the grass feels on the soles of your feet. Think about and discuss the roots and plant and animal life that are growing beneath you. Squish your toes in the mud, let the chilly morning dew wake up your senses, get grounded (term used for describing energy transfer when your body comes in direct contact with the ground or natural elements) and connect with the Earth. For more information about the benefits of being barefoot visit https://www.ecoexplorers.com.au/5-reasons-why-you-should-let-your-child-go-barefoot/

Make a Ribbon Wand

Materials:

  • A stick
  • Colorful ribbon
  • Staple gun or glue gun (optional)

Directions:

Find a stick on the ground and tie or adhere ribbon onto the top of the stick. Use to dance, wave around and have fun. Option: Use paint, string, or tissue paper to decorate the stick before you put the ribbons on. Note: Try using a shower curtain ring or bangle bracelet instead of a stick and wrap the ribbon around it for a safer option for the wee littles!

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Image from:
https://www.makeandtakes.com/stick-ribbon-streamers

Have a Fire and Read a Book Out Loud

Sitting around a campfire is an electronics-free sensory experience. The smell of the burning wood, the sounds of the crackling logs, the warmth of the coals and the mesmerizing dance and glow of the flames, creates a mindful and memorable experience. Of course, bringing in the taste of marshmallows is sure to put a sticky smile on your child’s face. Bring out a Spring picture book and read it aloud around the fire. If it is nighttime a flashlight will add to the interest!

Here are some Springtime book suggestions:

Mae the Mayfly, by Denise Brennan Nelson
Mae

The Curious Garden, by Peter Brown
Curious

Seeds and Trees, by Brandon Walden
Seeds

Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt, by Kate Messner
Garden

The Story of the Root Children, by Sibylle van Olfers
Root

May Day is a time to celebrate Spring and spend time outdoors with friends and family. The traditions and rituals of celebration can take on your own twist, just try to create a tradition that can last and perhaps get passed on within your family for generations!

Get outside and have fun together!

SonyaWWritten by: Sonya Wirtanen, RYT – Sonya has been practicing yoga since 2005, and loves the way all aspects of the practice have been sprinkled into her life throughout the years. She received her 200-hour yoga teacher certification from Frog Pond Yoga in Princeton, MA and has continued her studies at Konalani Ashram in Hawaii and ChildLight Education Company. Sonya is an AmeriCorps National Alumni and holds a bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education from Fitchburg State University. Over the last 20 years she has held various roles in the field of education including…read more here.

Join Sonya and her six-month-old daughter this May 11-June 1, 2021 for the ChildLight Parent Group, designed to connect like-minded parents to socialize, support and hold space for one another during their parenting journey. Share stories, developmental milestones, self-care, and mini baby and me yoga practice.

 

Additional Source: www.almanac.com