May 1 falls between the Spring equinox and the Summer solstice, marking the end of winter and the height of Spring. The origins of the May Day holiday can be traced back to Roman celebrations held at the end of April in honor of Flora, the goddess of flowers. In modern times, this day is well known for its Maypole dances and crowning the “Queen of the May." Other traditions include May Baskets, which are small baskets filled with flowers that are delivered in secret to neighbor's doors.
The maypole is a tall wooden pole erected with long colored ribbons hanging from the top and decorated with greenery and flowers. Dancers skip around the pole, weaving the ribbons into a spiral or elaborate pattern that is briefly seen before disappearing as the dance is reversed. This festival is an opportunity to revel in the beauty of the natural world, and of the greater woven tapestry that connects us all.
For us, the May Pole Dance is a joyful experience, and often the center of the May Day celebration. The May Pole often bears garlands and symbolizes the tree of life and growth of spring vegetation. This festival is often celebrated as an entire school community. Children from each grade take turns doing a May Pole dance. The patterns get more complicated as the children mature.
At City Garden, we combine a traditional May Day celebration with an end-of-the-year ceremony to mark the end of one season of life and the movement toward the next.
It’s a beautiful time of the year and a great time to move ideas, hopes, and dreams into action.