Good Morning, Scout Families! Happy May Day!
What is May Day, you ask? Well, it’s a very old holiday with a rich tradition. We don’t celebrate it much nowadays, but it goes way back to pre-biblical times. Early history points to Celtic/Pagan traditions and the celebration of fertility and spring, called Beltane. Festivities centered around the Beltane Fire (the word “Beltane” means “bright fire”), a bonfire used to symbolize the light of the new season, Spring, and to purify the cattle that survived the winter. Those cattle were released back into the pastures, and were driven between the Beltane Fires to purify them.
The holiday, as many have, evolved when Christianity came to prominence. Christianity recognized the Spring Celebration of the Pagans and adopted it into their traditions, making it a celebration of the Virgin Mary. It has, more recently, become a celebration of the Crowning of Mary with a ring of flowers, symbolizing the freshness and renewal of Spring.
Children’s Traditions surround May Day, as well, most popularly, the dance around the MayPole – a tall pole festooned with ribbons that are braided during that dance. The tradition of May Baskets is also present, and that is what we do today.
Children traditionally have filled small baskets with candy and other small treats, and tied them to doors of neighbors and friends. They ring the doorbell and run and hide, allowing the homeowner to find the treats. Cub Scout Pack 75 has celebrated this tradition for several years, leaving baskets on the doors of the Kar-Tay Apartments around town. Sometimes the kids are caught, and the residents are very happy to see them.
This year is no different – our Cub Scouts will be delivering May Baskets at different times today to those apartments, spreading the hope, cheer and renewal that Spring brings.