All About May Day–and why we love it!

MN Nature in St Paul, Minnesota, is all about celebrating the seasons and helping you get out to enjoy the diversity of our environment throughout the year. The first of May and the entire month is a wonderful, joyous occasion here in the Northern Tundra of Minnesota. It’s the time when things finally unthaw, trees blossom, songbirds return, snakes and bats and bears (oh my!) all come out of hibernation, and everything is beautiful and alive. The ecosystem completely renews itself in a spectacular transformative dance. It happens every year yet it ceases to amaze and delight us.

The first full moon is called a “Flower Moon” to some cultures and that sure is appropriate for our region most years. The exception may be the most northern portion, depending on weather.

Let’s Celebrate — the May Day Parade!

In Minnesota we have a parade and celebratory activities in a park to ring in the season — this year it’s The 43rd Annual MayDay Parade and Festival: Sunday, May 7, 2017. Parade starts at NOON. There are three parts to our MayDay event: the Parade, the Tree of Life Ceremony, and a Festival in Powderhorn Park in South Minneapolis until dusk.

May Day Origins

So what is May Day and how did it come about and become relevant? Well, the spring equinox and Easter are renewal holidays, when all comes alive and the great sun returns to the earth a little more each day starting with the spring equinox. But in northern hemispheres that slow progression isn’t really felt until later, often around May.

May Day on May 1 is an ancient northern hemisphere spring festival and usually a public holiday; it is also a traditional spring holiday in many cultures. Dances, singing, and cake are usually part of the celebrations that the day includes.

A Personal Minnesota Story

This was my mom’s most favorite holiday, appropriately her middle name was Mae and her birthday was in May! So every year as kids we would make May Day Baskets filled with flowers we picked in the yard and then we would add some treats. We’d leave these baskets at neighbors’ doors. The idea was to leave the basket, ring the bell, then run away. The owner opened the door to find the joy of . . . spring at their doorstep! Of course, their was a twist (and it ties into May Day and spring energy being a time of fertility, when seeds are sown) in that if you left a basket at a the doorstep of your crush and they saw you and ran out and caught you to give you a kiss, you would then be partners. Oh, how exciting!

How to Incorporate the Renewal of Life into Your Life

At this time, it’s fun to think about what “seeds” you want to sow for the year. Not just in the garden! But what goals do you have? How might you implement achieving them at this time? Maybe you want to completely start anew. Now’s the time!

How to Celebrate at Home

Create an art board or story of what you’d like to start and finish this year, and then nurture those goals/desires/seeds throughout the year until you see them blossom! Or be literal and plant a seed or (tree seedling)! As you nurture the seedling throughout the year, you can focus on your goals. Maybe you want to design and plant a butterfly or bee garden. Or just let nature do the rest.

Enjoy this most wonderful time of the year!


Learn more about the “Right Tree, Right Place” for your yard

Determine the best plants and trees for your specific environment with MNDoT’s Plant Selector

Plant for good, do no harm! Butterfly and Bee gardens

Learn more about May Day:

Volunteer to help create puppets for the May Day Parade — Kid Friendly! From Saturday, April 8 – Thursday, May 4, 2017, MayDay Build Workshops are held:

Photo Heart of the Beast May Day Tree of Life Ceremony.

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