May Day Baskets

A Festival of Flowers

Contributed by Julie A. Kraus, Jewels Floral Studio

May Day celebrations date back to the Roman Republic era, festival of Flora, the Roman goddess of flowers. In many parts of the world, the month of May has great meaning and is celebrated in many different and elaborate festivities.

In America, this curious custom went like this: As the month of April came to an end, people would begin gathering flowers, goodies and candies and put in May baskets to hang on the doors of loved ones, friends, and neighbors on May 1st of each year.

Perhaps considered quaint now, in decades past May Basket Day was a celebrated rite of spring in the United States. Through the 19th and 20th, centuries, May Basket Day celebrations took place across the nation. Flowers would be gathered at the end of April’s showers, arranged and hung on doors welcoming the receiver into warmer weather.

Traditionally, the well-wisher hangs the basket, knocks on the door, and dashes away. An overall silly yet fun experience for the young and old. A special way to celebrate that winter is over, and it’s time to come together to celebrate spring and light.

This was also a unique and special way to let a romantic prospect know that you cared for her. If the lady in question caught the gentlemen leaving the basket, and she was also interested in him, she was tasked with chasing him down in an effort to steal a kiss.

May Day baskets were generally made of paper and were hung on doors with your respects of best wishes and love. The May Day basket tradition is still practiced by some individuals, but the custom is mostly unknown to kids today. 

I believe it’s time to bring this wonderful tradition back!! This is the perfect time with social distancing, isolation, and widespread uncertainty. Delivering a May Day basket would be a thoughtful way to let our loved ones and neighbors know we care. This magical tradition can be celebrated from May 1st through the end of the month of May. This small act of kindness speaks volumes and helps us stay connected to the people we love and care about.