The Nature Bible


Thoughts · Daily Post

Happy May Day!




May Day - an ancient festival of Spring and a current traditional spring holiday in many European cultures with many Catholics practising May devotions to the Blessed Virgin Mary. The best known modern May Day traditions, include dancing around the maypole and crowning the Queen of May. Ancient traditions also used to include the giving of 'May baskets' which usually contained sweets or flowers and were left anonymously on neighbours' doorsteps.


Lily of the Valley (around since before 1,000 BC) and also known as 'May bells' or 'Our Lady's tears', in art is considered a sign of Christ's second coming. In France people still give each other a Lily of the Valley on 1st May which dates back to 1 May 1561, when King Charles IX of France received a Lily of the Valley as a lucky charm and decided to offer a Lily of the Valley each year to the ladies of the court. They are also still worn in Helston, Cornwall on Flora Day (8th May) to celebrate the coming of spring/summer and are one of the most fragrant blooming plants of this time of the year, with lance-shaped green leaves and dainty white, nodding bell-shaped flowers that exude my favourite perfume. I also love this poem below which is really evocative of the time of year:-


May Day in England by Aaron Marchant


'May day in England, the sun smiling wide

new leaf unfurling and catkins beside

wildflowers dancing like children at play

All this can be seen on an English May day


The melodious robin competes with song thrush

The bees sizzle past in their nectar-drunk rush

the church bells are pealing 'Go love while you may'

sweet are the sounds of an English May day


Ramsons and wood sorrel freshen the breeze

the blossoming hawthorn and horse chestnut trees

Bluebell profusion in perfumed array

Sublime is the scent of an English May day


Courting butterflies rest on the sycamore leaves

The swallows renew their nest under the eaves

Kissing couples hold hands as they swoon and they sway

The world falls in love on an English May day.'