So yesterday I was Facebook-chatting with a fellow-mom friend from another state, and it came to my attention that she, too, was in the dark about May Day and May baskets. So of course I schooled her. Every year I write here about May Day and every year someone says, "What the heck are you talking about?"
It seems not everyone was lucky enough to live in an area of the country where May baskets are a normal party of May 1st each year.
But you are lucky! Because it's not May 1st yet. And I'm here to teach you about May Day. So if you've got little kidlets in your house, and you want to do something fun, festive, and kind to celebrate the arrival of spring tomorrow, you still have time.
As I've written in the past, when I was growing up in northern Minnesota, it was a tradition every May 1st to deliver homemade May baskets to the doorsteps of our neighborhood friends, ring the bell, and then run away before they could see who had left the surprise. We always used flowered Dixie cups for the baskets, used pipe cleaners to make handles, and filled them with popcorn and perhaps a few candies (see above).
More creative and/or health-conscious types fill their baskets with paper or real flowers (which I believe is the original tradition).
images courtesy skiptomylou.org and mayday2013.com
While I'd like to say that we deliver flowers to our friends on May Day, my children and I actually fill our "baskets" with things like candy, Goldfish cracker packs, and fruit snacks. And I admit, in my circle, May baskets have morphed from the very simple Dixie-cup-and-popcorn of my youth to, often (not always), more extravagant versions that sometimes feature, in addition to sweets, such treasures as sidewalk chalk, bubbles, or a pretty hair clip or two. Seriously!
Anyway, today is April 30th, so the girls and I will be making May baskets tonight. Sometime after school and playtime with friends tomorrow, we'll go delivering. We generally get caught, because we have strayed (as have our friends) from the original tradition of keeping May basket delivery a neighborhood thing, and we actually drive around town to some of our closest friends who live farther away. Of course, they see our car. Oh well! It's still fun.
There you have it. You still have time to run to the store today for Dixie cups and candy, make "baskets" tonight with your kiddos, and participate in May Day tomorrow. Who knows? Maybe you'll start a new tradition in your neighborhood! Have fun!
(p.s. The radio just said it may snow up to six inches in southern MN--where I live--in a couple days. If that happens, I will seriously cry right into my May basket.)