“This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.”
Back in the 1960s when I was a student at Jamison Elementary School in Roanoke, we planned all spring for “May Day”. Every class learned the same song – It’s A Small World After All. (I remember this because I had the privilege of taking the autoharp to other classrooms and practicing with the younger children. Even then, I looked forward to being a teacher someday.)
We made paper flowers, decorated baskets or boxes and filled them with the flowers. Classrooms, hallways, and even the concrete playground was decorated with bright paper flowers and in the center, was a maypole graced with different pink, yellow and white streamers – all fluttering into the wind.
Recess was spent practicing for the “big day” when we would dance around the maypole. Children going around the pole, all in different directions, weaving in and out, completely covering the maypole with streamers until we came to the very end. (Singing It’s A Small World as we danced around the pole.)
Our school program wasn’t this elaborate but the idea is the same. Girls were our best spring dresses and little boys had to dress up too.
I don’t remember anyone teaching us about the origin of the Maypole – that it had its roots in paganism. I’m sure I thought it was just a celebration for spring and that school would soon be out for the summer. (This is when I began my yearly “countdown” to the last day of school. It was fun and I shall always remember the school that no longer exists on May First. There is now a fire station where our school once stood. They also have a pole but I’m sure they don’t prance around it on May Day!
I had always heard about a lovely tradition in which children would make a basket of flowers (or a tussy-mussy), place it near the door of a grandmother, mother or a special neighbor, ring the doorbell and hide to watch the reaction of the surprised loved one as they discovered their gift. I love that tradition! It is traditionally done on May 1st but wouldn’t it be fun to do this any time? (Cookies or fruit basket could substitute for flowers.)
When I was a teacher, I had my small students decorate baskets made from inexpensive paper plates. I found a website with May Day projects similar to the ones I had “my kids” make for their parents or grandparents. I thought I would share it with you.
We should celebrate every day as a gift from God. After all, This is the day which the Lord hath made…
Happy May Day, dear friends!
Also. check out the many Mother’s Day Crafts too. =-)
Photo credit to John Withrow who first posted these wonderful pictures to the Jamison Elementary School Facebook group. Great memories, John. Thank you for sharing!