The Lessons learned in Teaching our Children Traditions

 

May Day Basket

May Day Basket

Items For Making Basket

Items For Making Basket

Basket Sweets & Flowers

Basket Sweets & Flowers

I made a call to my Octogenarian mother this am to see how things were going. She in turn asked me about my blogging and what topics I was currently writing about. We went on to discuss children and the events we use to do to help us learn how to care for others. My mother was excellent at generating projects for all 8 of us kids, as well as taking care of a lot of people in need. Even in her mid-80’s, she’s still seeing that people in need are remembered in one way or another–a true example for all of us.

Spring was a season full of events in our home while growing up. My father, a horticulturist, was busy running his commercial greenhouses, with pruning, planting, shipping; you name it. At the same time, my mother was busy in the house, tending to the yard, raising the kids, as well as seeing that whomever around us needed help, got it. One of her traditional annual projects for us as children, was May Day. It was not only a tradition in our home, but in the community as well.

According to Wikipedia, May Day on May 1, is an ancient North Hemisphere spring festival and usually a public holiday. It is also a traditional spring holiday in many cultures. ‘The origins of May Day Celebrations appeared in pre-Christian times, with the festival of Flora, the Roman goddess of flowers, and the Walpurgia night celebrations of the Germanic countries. It is also associated with the Gaelic Beltane. Many pagan celebrations were abandoned or christianized during the process of conversion in Europe. A more secular version of May Day continues to be observed in Europe and America. In this form, May Day may be best known for its tradition of dancing the maypole dance and crowning of the Queen of May.’ ‘In the Roman Catholic tradition, May is observed as Mary’s month, and in these circles May Day is usually a celebration of the Blessed Virgin Mary. In this connection, in works of art, school skits, and so forth, Mary’s head will often be adorned with flowers in a May crowning. Fading in popularity since the late 20th century is the giving of “May baskets,” small baskets of sweets and/or flowers, usually left anonymously on neighbors’ doorsteps.’

In preparation of May Day, We, as children, made paper baskets out of bright-colored construction paper, decorated in spring themes with the use of crayon or whatever coloring devices we happened to have at the time. They weren’t the fanciest but were done at our best and loaded with love. Once the baskets were made and filled typically with easter basket grass, we set them aside and headed to the kitchen to make some sort of homemade treat; cookies, etc. This work was generally done the night before May Day, so as to lighten up the day of the event in order to have time to make our deliveries.

Early on May Day morning (May 1st), we’d go out and pick fresh, colorful flower blossoms out of the yard (we were fortunate to have early spring flowers where we grew up) and bring them in the house to arrange into mini bouquets.All items were laid out on the kitchen table for us kids to put the cookies and flowers into the baskets and while doing so, we discussed who needed to have a surprise delivery on May Day. Traditionally, it tended to be more of the elderly in the community who weren’t able to get out and about any longer. Once everything was ready, my mother would load us kids and the baskets into the car and we would head out to make our May Day Deliveries.

Tradition had it that the delivery was to be a surprise, therefore, a challenge to us children. We thought we were so clever at that young age, to be able to pull off a surprise. I do recall being caught a time or two as some elderly people still got to the door rather quickly or had a long walk way leading to the door. Regardless, it wasn’t uncommon to receive a kiss or hug when caught. I also remember the surprise/smiles on the Peoples’ faces that made a mark in our hearts and memories.

It is up to you parents to teach your children the Traditions passed on to you and ones that you want them to pass on to their children. Looking back over my lifetime, those are the events you truly remember and how special the moments were for us as a family, as well as for the people we touched. Take the time to do this when the kids are young so that they have a lifetime to partake, enjoy and share with others. It’s a comforting thought as we age, to know that we touched someone else’s soul and made them happy, even if only for a brief moment once a year.

 

 

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