The Good Life: May is the Perfect Time…

The Good Life: A Year of Thoughtful Seasons by Sarah Mattison Buhl

May is the Perfect Time…

34936077296_53780f7eb8_nAccording to the Old Farmer’s Almanac, the month of May is significant. The Celts traditionally celebrated Beltane on the first of May, later known as May Day: a day half-way between spring and summer which welcomed the return of earthly fertility in the form of flowers. Modern pagans still believe that it is a day when the veil separating them from the spiritual world thins, making May 1st powerful for enchantments, similar to Samhain or Halloween. Northern Europeans still celebrate Walpurgisnacht (also known as Vappu or Walpurgis depending on what country you are from) with dancing, bonfires, and sprigs of tender flowers to ward off “evil” and welcome the sun’s return. Read the rest of this entry »

Celebrating May Day: Events & Activities

Celebrating May Day in Western MA

May Day has a rich history. Today, a fully celebrated May Day likely includes May baskets filled with flowers, beautifully dressed Morris dancers, and the wrapping of a May pole.

Following Easter, spring’s next basket-centric, color-filled holiday is May Day! Much evolved from its earlier historical and cultural roots, a modern May Day includes baskets full of bright flowers, outdoor folk dancing, and other celebrations of spring. While there is no one event or celebration to which we can trace modern May Day’s roots, there are a handful of possibilities. In Roman times, May Day celebrations praised Chloris, the goddess of the earth and these earliest celebrations inspired similar May Day traditions in cultures for centuries to come. The ancient Celtic festival of Beltane was held on May 1, and celebrated the coming of summer with bonfires and dancing. Germany’s Walpurgisnacht similarly celebrates springtime in a Pagan way, with bonfires and wrapping a may pole.

Today, a fully celebrated May Day likely includes May baskets filled with flowers, beautifully dressed Morris dancers, and the wrapping of a May pole. This year, families have multiple opportunities to experience a true May Day celebration in Western Massachusetts. On Thursday, May 1st at 11am, the Great Barrington Rudolf Steiner School invites community members to join with students in celebrating with a May pole, Morris dancers, and a picnic! BYO lunch to enjoy on the lawn after dancing and pole-decorating have ended. Also on May 1st is the second ever Florence Night Out, the spring installment of which features a May pole, the Marlboro Morris Men, and the Guided Star Clog Morris Troupe on the Trinity Row Triangle Green at 5pm.

Families with small children can join the Cushman Scott Children’s Center for a May Day celebration from 9-11am on Saturday, May 3rd. Families can enjoy a pancake breakfast, crafts, Morris Dancers, and more – all at the early education center, located at 71 Henry Street. Read the rest of this entry »

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