Flickr: Susan Reimer

The Tradition of the May Day Basket is So Sweet

May Day baskets have fallen out of fashion quite a bit, but the tradition is a very sweet one that frankly, we think should come back in style. The May Day tradition is one you can even DIY with a bunch of spring flowers, tissue paper, colorful ribbons and other goodies in a pretty basket. What exactly is a May Day basket, and where does the tradition come from, anyway?

What Are May Day Baskets?

In the 19th and 20th centuries, people would leave a paper basket or paper cone with spring flowers and sweets on the doorstep of their sweetheart, according to the Old Farmer's Almanac. However, kids were often gifted them as well. As tradition goes, the idea was to knock on the person's front door, yell "May basket!," and then run, but "If the recipient caught the giver, he or she was entitled to a kiss," the site reports.

NPR says people would hang baskets on the doors of friends, neighbors, and loved ones on May 1st, and that it was sometimes used as a way to express interest in someone romantically.

What is May Day and Are There Other May Day Traditions?

May Day is celebrated on May 1st and is related to agriculture as well as astronomy, the Old Farmer's Almanac notes. The date is the halfway point between the spring equinox and the summer solstice, and it's essentially a celebration of springtime.

Other ways to celebrate May Day include "bringing in May" by gathering fresh flowers like wildflowers and branches and bringing them inside, putting together floral garlands or flower baskets, crowning a May King and May Queen, and setting up a Maypole for people to do a Maypole dance around.

How to Make a May Day Basket

If the May Day baskets in particular sound intriguing to you, you just need a few simple items to throw one together. Paper flowers are probably OK if you don't have the real deal, and a paper plate curved into a cone shape can hold flowers if you don't have some small baskets, gift baskets, or leftover Easter baskets lying around.

If you're trying to revitalize the basket tradition, you can also add decorations like crepe paper or pretty scrapbook paper, various flora, trinkets or other small gifts, and even a "Happy May Day!" gift tag for good measure. If you want to encourage the person to welcome spring even more, consider adding seed packets or little mason jars for them to grow seedlings in.

Do you think we should bring back the May Day basket tradition?

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