Happy May Day, Mom!

Wish I could put this on your front door.  But here it is on mine, as a distant second choice!

When I was little we’d make May baskets to hang on our neighbors’ doors.  It was pretty exciting to sneak up and slip the handle over my grandma W’s doorknob. We also made one for the woman who lived in the former 2-room school house across the road from us.

There weren’t any crocuses or grape hyacinths in my yard when I went looking for things to put in this May basket this morning.   I was surprised at how many things I did find blooming!  From back left and moving clockwise: thyme, rosemary (the dark purple), privet (I think that’s what the pink flowing shrub is), desert primrose (not meant to be cut and fading fast), African daisy, red miniature rose, and another desert primrose.  There’s a spring of white flowering ground cover and a chive blossom in there somewhere too.

I woke up this morning with an image of my grandma W’s front porch with a little white school paper basket hanging from the doorknob.  Felt a little wistful, and decided to see if I could conjure up the recipe for this simple basket.   Wow, Mom, you taught me well.  I remembered that it was really simple.  Just five or six cuts in a piece of sketch paper (you don’t want the basket to be too big).  Fold, tape.  Fold the handle over double for strength.  In hindsight, I should have cut the handle from the long side of the paper as it was a little hard to get it over the doorknob.

This tradition isn’t too well documented online.  It seems to have been practiced across Western Europe and probably stems from pagan celebrations of spring.  Gimme that old time religion!

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4 thoughts on “Happy May Day, Mom!

  1. Gala says:

    What a lovely tradition!

  2. RuthG says:

    What a sweet basket! I remember little May baskets on doorknobs too–I think that was in the late 1950s, before we moved to Colombia.

    You have lovely things blooming in your yard! I have some rosemary & thyme waiting to be planted in my back-porch boxes, along with other herbs. They’re much too young to bloom at this point. SoCal weather is so far ahead of Chicago’s!

  3. me says:

    Oh thank you! What a lovely lovely surprise! Aren’t I the lucky one! I’d even forgotten it was the first of May today.

  4. Sundry says:

    It was so fun to wander around the yard finding another thing and another in bloom! Glad I was able to share it.

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