Though it’s now also a day set aside to honour workers and those who fought for worker’s rights, the original May Day celebrations were related to the ancient Celtic celebration of Beltane, heralding the end of dreary winter and the arrival of better weather, the time when crops could be sown.
Some May Day traditions include:
• The gathering of flowers and branches to decorate a town or village, including a tall young tree that would become the maypole.
• Dancing around the maypole, with dancers holding onto ribbons affixed to the top and weaving in and out until the pole was fully plaited.
• All kinds of dancing, as well as feasting and singing.
• Young girls washing their face in the morning dew on May Day, to ensure a year’s worth of beauty.
• The crowning of a local girl as “Queen of the May”.
Basically, May Day was a time for fun and frivolity, which is probably why the Puritans tried to ban it in 1644!
You can find some May Day crafts and kids’ activities at: http://www.dltk-kids.com/crafts/may/index.htm