Wayzata, Minnesota

Friday, April 27, 2012

Sepia Saturday A Maying We Shall Go



Flowers, flowers, showers and more flowers; loads of May-ness everywhere you go!

April showers, bring May flowers.  As April fades into May, a gentle pitter-patter of rain falls upon a sea of umbrellas, as people gather for a May Day Parade.

May Day Parade, on the first day of May in 1909 in New York City.  Courtesy of Bains News Service.

Isn't ironic how this photo was taken in front of the "United Hat Stores?"

Sepia Saturday celebrates May Day as it's theme this week.

What's that, some of you haven't even heard of May Day before?

Absolutely not funny, but it's true, there are many who have no idea what this ancient northern hemisphere of spring festivals is all about.  Follow along for a glimpse of how many before us, have celebrated this public holiday.  Just so you know, May Day springs forth through so many cultures.

In most places, all May Day Celebrations offered,

Parades, banners, flowers, balloons and dancing through the streets just in celebration of spring blooming within our world.

This photo presents the crowning of Dorothy Zimmerman as May Queen at the Neighborhood House in Washington D.C. May 1925. photo courtesy of National Photo Company Collection.

Always during these most happiest of parades there would be a crowning of the May Queen in most every one's May Day festivals.

Is it just me, or do you also wonder what this gentleman is thinking?

Most intriguing are the May Day Baskets, that arrived secretly, and usually left anonymously on a neighbor's doorsteps.

Ever so quietly they would tip-toe up the walk and place the small May Day Basket of sweets and or flowers before their door, and quickly run away after ringing the bell.

But on some special occasions they weren't left so mysteriously.

Photo courtesy of Library of Congress, Washington D.C. April 30 1927.
Mrs. Coolidge, wife of Calvin Coolidge the President of the United States from 1923 - 1929.

Such as the case of Mrs. Coolidge receiving a basket of flowers and a kiss, in celebration of May Day.  The children, Nan Norton, Elizabeth Ann Taylor, and Margaret Cooley presented this basket of flowers as part of the ceremonies for "May Day is child health day."

Isn't it sad, how today so many of us seldom celebrate May Day?

How will you celebrate it?

So many little simple acts of kindness, and traditions seem to fade away, just as this young lad's long ago job, has withered away.

Meet Abe Singer, a 14 year old helper at Wax Florists at 143 Tremont Street. Don't you wish he was coming to your house with these packages! Photo dated as 1917.

How many sparkling faces like this darling delivery boy pictured here, have you seen bring flowers to your door?

Not very many I'm sure!

But a most common tradition for May Day Celebrations besides flowers and parades and a crowning, were the MAY POLES, and all the happy dancers circling the strikingly decorated poles.  Mostly in school yards.

Sometimes the poles were imaginary. It was the May Pole Dance itself, that brightened the grounds and delighted the people gathered at the White House lawn in Washington, D.C.

Whether you celebrate the festival of Flora, or reach as far back as the Germanic festival of Walpurgis, or perhaps you celebrate the Blessed Virgin Mary, or possibly ventured over to Cawsand Square with Morris dancing during the May Day Bank holiday after snapping photos of the Flower Boat Ritual....

isn't it just more about our togetherness?

Photo courtesy of Jack Delano, photographer May 1941 in celebration of a May Day pageant in Siloam, Green County, Georgia.

No matter what country you are from, or what May Day Celebrations you traditionally share, in the end, it's just about sharing a togetherness of love and spirit during a time of much freshness as spring enters our lives......

What ever you may do to celebrate, your devotion will lead the way.

Please check out the other May Day offerings at Alan's Sepia Saturday blog, where more posts blossom as you read this


Judie said...

Well, this certainly brought back memories of my childhood! In our grammar school, we celebrated May Day with a very elaborate show that was held on the high school footbal field. There were many colorful costumes and themes. It was quite a production, and everyone participated.

I am celebrating May Day by playing golf, incidentally. I am so glad to be out in the sunshine again!

Thanks for the stroll down memory lane, Karen!!!

Jenny Woolf said...

Thanks for reminding me of May Day. As kids we always used to dance around the maypole, at school. I think kids in country districts still do it but only in school, not spontaneously. That picture with all the umbrellas really made me laugh!


May is my favourite month. I only hope it stops raining!

21 Wits said...

Judie, hello pretty lady! I just love your new picture, and am so happy to hear you're out playing golf again! You sure were lucky to have such great memories of May Day with costumes even! I so wish I had experienced that too!

21 Wits said...

Jenny, you are welcome, I hope it does stop raining, but of course you need those May flowers right! Enjoy your weekend and the spirit of May day should live on!

Wendy said...

I hope somebody sneaks onto my porch with a basket of flowers -- that would be delightful!

Little Nell said...

Karen these are fabulous photos. I’m learning so much again. The idea of May baskets is a new one to me, but whata lovely tradition. I do think that gentleman rather wishes he wasn’t there; he certainly has that look.

21 Wits said...

Little Nell, I really like the mystery basket as well, and when my children were growing up, at different times we left goodie bags at Halloween time and mostly Christmas in decorated bags at neighbors or shut-ins houses! The mystery of finding a surprise at your door is just the best experience ever!

Christine H. said...

I certainly enjoyed this post, and I love the idea of anonymous May Day baskets on doorsteps. I may look at doing that next year.

Cloudia said...

Wonderful post!

May Day is Lei Day in Hawaii!

Aloha from Honolulu
Comfort Spiral

> < } } (°>

Tattered and Lost said...

If Hallmark could figure out a way to make money off of it we'd be knee deep in May Day commercials.

Wonderful photos.

Alan Burnett said...

What a splendid collection of May Day related images and words. I am tempted to call it a May Day basket, but I have to confess that May Day baskets are something you don't see on this side of the pond.

Teresa Wilson Rogers said...

These are beautiful pictures for the May Day theme - I am particularly in awe of the first one. There is something so stunning about the umbrellas and black and white aspect. Thanks for sharing!

North County Film Club said...

Such perfect photos for the theme.
I think the man is eyeing his wife critically as she uses his camera for the first time.

Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy said...

Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful! I learned a lot more from reading yours. The pictures that you chose go perfectly with your words.

Was that THE Elizabeth Taylor who delivered the flowers?

Thanks so much for your hard work on this, I loved it.

Kathy M.

Sheila @ A Postcard a Day said...

That first picture with the umbrellas could be us right now, except that the wind is so strong the umbrellas would be inside out.

In France they offer Lily of the Valley for May Day, which I think is lovely.

Postcardy said...

May Day is probably too close to Easter and Mother's Day to be commercialized, and much of the U.S. is often too cold for outdoor celebrations at the beginning of May.

Lavender and Vanilla Friends of the Gardens said...

Karen, a wonderful summery of May celebrations, the photos are delightful. So much has changed in our world. It seems we can't stop the changes so it is nice to see the olden days captured in simple sepia or black and white, which I think makes it so special.

Bob Scotney said...

One of the things that strikes me about all the maypoles we have seen this week is that rarely is there a man in evidence.
Two other things, Karen. The rain and sleet beating on my window could never be described as mere 'pitter-patter. And as for celebrating May Day, I'll be resting up breathing a sigh of relief that A-Z has finished for another year!

Bruno Laliberté said...

That was fun, even if unknown to me.
I like seeing people looking so elegant. Perhaps the man was worried the girl might put the crown upside down or something. Gestures of kindness can be done any old time, can't they?!

Thanx 4 sharing!!

Nancy said...

You found some fine old photos for May Day, Karen. Did you notice on the first rainy day picture that on the top right it says, "Labor Parade 5/1/09?" I didn't notice it till you pointed out the United Hat Stores sign. I especially like the photo of Mrs. Coolidge. She looks so happy and the little girls look delighted.

Helen Killeen Bauch McHargue said...

May day, as you've described, when people left lovely gifts of flowers on the door step seems like the polar opposite of Halloween, six months earlier, where tricks and pranks were the order of the day. It would be an opportunity for the naughty pranksters to balance their accounts.

L. D. said...

wow, this is a great post. I really liked the photos you chose. And when there is not pole just dance around in circles.