Wednesday, May 1, 2013

May Day

When I was a young girl, I was less conscious of flowers as a sign of spring. I lived in the desert southwest. My grandparents lived in the sun valley near Phoenix. Spring wasn't particularly special. But one day--May Day--was. In school we made little paper woven baskets that we took home. And there we filled them with early wild flowers (most likely weeds such as dandelions!) before hanging them on the neighbor's doorknobs.

The deal was hang the basket, ring the doorbell, and run like crazy to some point where you could hide and watch the neighbor's smiles when they discovered the flowers. And of course, this was before school so it was early in the morning.

What I find interesting from my more mature perspective is the acceptance of celebrating a clearly pagan holiday in a very fundamentalist protestant home. There was a certain innocence to the delight and excitement of making the baskets, filling them and distributing them.

Then we moved to the northern Midwest and such shenanigans were not only forbidden by my paternal relatives, but heavy browed disapproval made it clear May baskets were wicked and 'not our way'. By definition, therefore, I was wicked and on my way to Hell.


I find it interesting that Easter eggs and Christmas Trees were okay. Halloween was not. Singing was okay. Dancing was totally unacceptable and card playing was beyond the pale. It was a confusing time for a young girl dealing with the loss of her mother and all that was familiar and dear.

I don't fault my relatives for their beliefs and misguided efforts to teach me what they considered right from wrong. But I look back and wonder just how much of the religious intolerance we see today is based on that same wrong-headed ignorance.

Flowers baskets on doorknobs. How subversive could they be?

Happy May Day!


1 comment:

  1. I love May Day! My sisters and I had a so much fun making baskets when I was a kid.