Happy May Day!

lily-of-the-valley_May Day

 

I wish I could say the Lilies of the Valley in my yard look this beautiful… I have the sunshine but the stems are just up, no blossoms yet. Still, I rejoice in their effort, their enthusiasm and when the blossoms arrive, the fragrance!

Lilies of the Valley are an ancient woodland flower, and have signified humility in religious works for centuries. Personally, they make me think of fairies and other magical things. It’s not surprising that they are a prized flower in a bride’s wedding bouquet – Grace Kelly had them when she became a Princess, and so did Kate Middleton when she became Katherine, Duchess of Cambridge.

Princess Katherine with bouquet

May Day is a phrase used by sailors to signify distress, and sometimes with the hectic nature of spring I admit that rings true. But there is another history to this day… in much of the Northern Hemisphere the first day of May was long a holiday celebrating spring. This tradition goes back to Celtic traditions of Beltane, which sat opposite the first of November, heralding the start of the autumn. As such, it was a joyous pagan celebration involving dancing, flowers and cake. (what’s not to like about that?!)

May 1 also became International Workers’ Day in Europe – was this perhaps in connection with the Christian traditions overtaking pagan rituals and more of a work ethic entering the collective psyche? I wonder…

maypole danceMy memories of May Day come in part from stories my Mom told of wrapping ribbons around the Maypole as a girl (perhaps a bit pagan, but awfully romantic, don’t you think?). Then when I lived in France I learned that a tribute on this special day was to give “muguets”, Lily of the Valley. Their pungent fragrance is so typical of spring, sensual and full of life. They are dainty blossoms on sturdy stems, as if to say, “We may look delicate, but we have the strength to carry on through storms and wind until the sun prevails.”

So, on this beautiful day, where I am surrounded by sun and blooming flowers and fresh-cut grass and bouncing animals, I wish you a Happy May Day. Here’s to the sun prevailing.

 

Advertisements

About happygourmand

I am a professional gourmande - a lover of life. Not only food and drink, but life in general. I love experiencing life to its fullest, and I love sharing my adventures with others.

Posted on May 1, 2014, in friends, garden, history, seasons and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

Please share your comments

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: