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Folklore: May baskets

DigiTrad:
CORNISH MAY CAROL
DRAWING NEARER TO THE MERRY MONTH OF MAY
MAY DAY CAROL
MAY DAY CAROL (2)
MAY MORNING CAROL
MAY MORNING DEW
QUEEN OF THE MAY


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kendall 11 Apr 04 - 07:56 AM
Rapparee 11 Apr 04 - 10:09 AM
katlaughing 11 Apr 04 - 02:52 PM
KT 11 Apr 04 - 04:40 PM
Kent Davis 12 Apr 04 - 12:09 AM
dianavan 12 Apr 04 - 12:50 AM
erinmaidin 12 Apr 04 - 02:56 AM
open mike 12 Apr 04 - 03:05 AM
kendall 12 Apr 04 - 03:12 AM
Penny S. 12 Apr 04 - 09:08 AM
Mrs.Duck 12 Apr 04 - 10:16 AM
Bat Goddess 12 Apr 04 - 11:53 AM
open mike 12 Apr 04 - 12:38 PM
dianavan 12 Apr 04 - 03:33 PM
open mike 12 Apr 04 - 08:02 PM
dianavan 12 Apr 04 - 09:13 PM
Tracey Dragonsfriend 13 Apr 04 - 10:33 AM
Cap't Bob 13 Apr 04 - 10:17 PM
Peg 14 Apr 04 - 01:52 PM
dianavan 14 Apr 04 - 09:49 PM
GUEST,val 14 Apr 13 - 02:44 PM
GUEST,Stevebury 14 Apr 13 - 04:03 PM
Valmai Goodyear 15 Apr 13 - 02:41 PM
ChanteyLass 16 Apr 13 - 10:55 PM
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Subject: BS: May baskets
From: kendall
Date: 11 Apr 04 - 07:56 AM

When I was a little boy, we had a ritual that seems to have died out, and I'm wondering if anyone else had this.
On the first day of May we would make little baskets out of cardboard, decorate them with fancy paper and ribbons, hang them on the door knob of some little girl that we liked, knock and run like hell. She would come out, see the basket and try to catch us. The object was to kiss us. If we wanted to be kissed, we would move at less than top speed. Seems to me that the baskets contained home made treats.


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Subject: RE: BS: May baskets
From: Rapparee
Date: 11 Apr 04 - 10:09 AM

Yeah, I remember that. We did it in grade school, using holy pictures, and if you were caught the catcher was supposed to pray for you. It wasn't very popular -- your way would have been.


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Subject: RE: BS: May baskets
From: katlaughing
Date: 11 Apr 04 - 02:52 PM

I remember making them in school, but no the chasing bit. I think we took ours home filled with a few paper flowers and maybe a bit of candy. I remember loving to make them, though. I think they still did this when my son was in grade school, 28 or so years ago. I love May Eve and Day!


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Subject: RE: Folklore: May baskets
From: KT
Date: 11 Apr 04 - 04:40 PM

I remember May baskets! When I was a little girl, I'd make a May basket, filled with flowers, candy , ribbons, and take it to my next door neighbor's house. The object was to hang it on the door knob, knock and run away, making the gift anonymous, in the style of Random Acts of Kindness, but anonymously done.

As an adult, I was delighted for several years, to be the recipient of a May basket, handmade and delivered by the little girl who lived across the street. She tried hard to be anonymous, but was caught one time, hiding behind the house. She stood just out of sight around the corner of the house, waiting for enough time to pass for it to be safe to return home without being caught. We were each sneaking along perpendicular sides of the house, when we met at the corner of the house. I don't know who was more startled ...or delighted!! Still brings a smile to this day.........    Lovely tradition! KT


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Subject: RE: Folklore: May baskets
From: Kent Davis
Date: 12 Apr 04 - 12:09 AM

My children deliver May bouquets. If the neighbor isn't home, then it's anonymous; otherwise not. The neighbors love it.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: May baskets
From: dianavan
Date: 12 Apr 04 - 12:50 AM

Yes! We made May baskets and filled them with flowers. We'd deliver them to the neighbors' doors, knock and run away. It was great fun and I looked forward to it every year.

My mom always knew that Spring was on its way when we brought her a boquet of pussywillows.

My daughter and I don't celebrate Easter or Passover but we mark this time of year by doing a work exchange. We work together at her place (usually in the garden) for six hours and she makes dinner. The next day we switch. If its raining, we do housework or maintenance. Since we don't celebrate traditional holidays, we often make our own. I learned this from my mom.

Another family tradition we have is picking strawberries in late June. We pick the first day and make jam the next. I could go on and on about non-religous celebrations. Do you have any?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: May baskets
From: erinmaidin
Date: 12 Apr 04 - 02:56 AM

The making of may baskets was something I learned in elementary school. We only made them the one year but it was a tradition I carried with me until I was a wise old teenager.
There was an elderly widow woman across the street from the home I grew up in. I always marveled at how happy she always seemed, even tho' she usually passed her days alone. Every May, she was the recipient of my May Basket...usually filled with flowers I'd swiped from other neighbour's gardens!
How touched I was when I was told by her daughter that at her passing away she asked that I be told how important to her those baskets were in her life. I never even imagined that she knew it was I who had brought them.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: May baskets
From: open mike
Date: 12 Apr 04 - 03:05 AM

we folded paper baskets in the pattern of the origami paper fortune tellers we used to use...cootie catchers i think we called them...
they had 4 "cups" and there would be numbers inside...we would open and close them until the persone picked a "flap" with a number on it, then open and close it that many more times aND OPEN THE FOLD of paper to reveal a foretune which we wrote on teh inside under the folded paper.
We would take paper folded like these fortune telling deals, and staple
handles on, then fill with violets, and m&m's or maybe jelly beans.
Hang on door knob or handle, knock or ring bell and run away!
We didn't know may day was international worker's day.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: May baskets
From: kendall
Date: 12 Apr 04 - 03:12 AM

My Uncle told of the time when he and another kid hung a dead rabbit on the door knob of an old man's house. The old guy was so bent over that his head was on the same latitude as the door knob, and when he yanked the door open, the rabbit hit him in the face. He was so amused that he set the dog on them.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: May baskets
From: Penny S.
Date: 12 Apr 04 - 09:08 AM

How ungrateful! That's a stew for four days for one!

Penny


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Subject: RE: Folklore: May baskets
From: Mrs.Duck
Date: 12 Apr 04 - 10:16 AM

We never had May baskets but on May Day there was always a parade through our town (Woodford Green in Essex) with floats decorated with coloured paper flowers. People would also decorate bikes and prams and there was a prize for the best. One of the floats would carry the May queen and her attendants. Sadly the practice died out about 35 years ago unless its been revived but when May Day stopped being a holiday it spoilt it a bit and even though the bank holiday has been reinstated it is now on the nearest Monday which doesn't have the same feel to it.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: May baskets
From: Bat Goddess
Date: 12 Apr 04 - 11:53 AM

Circa 1954 (age four -- in "four-year-old" kindergarten at Pershing School in West Milwaukee, Wisconsin) I made May baskets and left them on neighbors' doorknobs, knocked and ran.

I can't remember right now whether this was something we did in school or whether my mother instigated it. (I'll have to call her and remember to ask.)

Whatever, May Day and May baskets were never even alluded to when we moved 30 blocks west to West Allis (west 'burb of Milwaukee) and I went to McKinley School for regular kindergarten through second grade. I think later, of course, I ran across literary references to May baskets, but it wasn't practiced in my vicinity.

Linn


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Subject: RE: Folklore: May baskets
From: open mike
Date: 12 Apr 04 - 12:38 PM

This site gives instructions for a conical basket
to hang on doors and has other pagan stuff...
it mentions that these baskets should be delvered on Belataine
and has other activities for other seasonal occasions.
http://www.fortunecity.com/millenium/sherwood/504/belcraft2.html
there is info on the history of Beltaine, May Day, May 1st:
http://www.fortunecity.com/millenium/sherwood/504/belhist.html

I am reminded of the Ukranian Easter Eggs, Pysanky, which
have been made for many many years. There is a belief that
the making of these eggs with their symbolic designs, brings
on the new spring and helps the seasons continue!
http://www.brama.com/art/pysanky.html
folk art at its finest...


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Subject: RE: Folklore: May baskets
From: dianavan
Date: 12 Apr 04 - 03:33 PM

Open Mike - When (what year) did May 1 actually become International Workers Day? I wish they would have picked another day. Beltain and May Day are traditions that have been carried on since pre-Christian times. I'd like to see them continued.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: May baskets
From: open mike
Date: 12 Apr 04 - 08:02 PM

from this site: http://csf.colorado.edu/mail/psn/2000/msg00650.html

"May Day is a day when the workers the world over demonstrate their
international solidarity. It originated in the United States over a
hundred years ago and grew out of the struggle for the 8-hour day....

The first May Day was in 1886 as hundreds of thousands of workers across the country paraded for an 8-hour working day. The center of the strike movement was Chicago, where 80,000 workers participated in a general strike and effectively shut down the city........
In 1889 leaders of the organized labor movement in various countries met in Paris for the International Workingmen's Association. They voted to support the 8-hour fight and set up May 1st 1890 for an international 8-hour day struggle. On that day workers all over Europe paraded and demonstrated in show of their international unity for a shorter working day......
Ever since 1890 May Day has been a day when workers celebrate their gains and demonstrate their unity with the working people of all countries in their common fight against all forms of exploitation and oppression........
Sunday, May 1, 1994, marks the 107th celebration of May Day. For many, May
Day conjures up visions of flower-baskets and maypole dancing -- certainly
valid associations, but there is another important meaning of May Day that
is being quickly forgotten. May Day is International Workers' Day, a time
for working-class people around the world to reflect on the struggles and
accomplishments of workers, remember our martyrs, and recognize that our
sweat and blood has built and sustains the societies in which we live. It
is also a day for folks to put aside work and thumb our noses at the Bosses.
May Day is an opportunity to plan for the time when we will no longer be
forced to sell our lives to wage slavery; a time to renew solidarity and
celebrate the working-class.......
if you search for International Workers' Day as i did you can find out more...


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Subject: RE: Folklore: May baskets
From: dianavan
Date: 12 Apr 04 - 09:13 PM

I know its an important day for workers (I'm a unionist). I just wish they had chosen a different day. Its almost as if the last vestige of paganism has been overshadowed by a predominantly male interests. Can't we have at least one holiday in honour of the ancient, holy mother?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: May baskets
From: Tracey Dragonsfriend
Date: 13 Apr 04 - 10:33 AM

Don't worry - She knows when you honour Her, and pays no heed to the imposition of calendar dates for tbese modern marker days.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: May baskets
From: Cap't Bob
Date: 13 Apr 04 - 10:17 PM

It was our custom, after the knock on the door, to yell at the top of our lungs "MAY BASKET ON ________ (name of the girl)" and then run.

Cap't Bob


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Subject: RE: Folklore: May baskets
From: Peg
Date: 14 Apr 04 - 01:52 PM

I made one and left it for my third grade teacher at her house--she caught me doing it?

many years later in grad school a young man left a garland on my doorknob at Beltane...

I wrote about this at www.witchvox.com; search for Beltane and "You Call it May Day, We Call it Beltane."


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Subject: RE: Folklore: May baskets
From: dianavan
Date: 14 Apr 04 - 09:49 PM

Thanks Peg,

Since my birthday is May Eve, I'm always interested in finding out what I can about Beltane. I feel like it was an honor to born at that time so special to the ancients.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: May baskets
From: GUEST,val
Date: 14 Apr 13 - 02:44 PM

on Mayday when i was very young from 5 years old onwards all of us in our village decorated our mothers large oval washing basket with bluebells cowslips daisies and wallflowers and some greenery, put a doll dressed in her best in and cover her with a shawl, then we would knock on doors and ask the lady of the house if she would like to seeour May baby, afterwards we got together to see who had the best decorated basket, there were no prizes of course!


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Subject: RE: Folklore: May baskets
From: GUEST,Stevebury
Date: 14 Apr 13 - 04:03 PM

Yes, I remember making May baskets to deliver to an elderly woman on our street on May Day. (Ring the bell then run and hide.) I was probably 5, 6, 7 years old. This was in Ohio in the early 1950's. I don't know whether the tradition came from my parents, or whether it was local to the neighborhood.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: May baskets
From: Valmai Goodyear
Date: 15 Apr 13 - 02:41 PM

Here are the Knots of May dancing to their excellent band on Garland Day in Lewes. Children make garlands of flowers to be judged in the Gun Garden of Lewes Castle, and then everyone processes down School Hill to the Town Square for more dancing by the Knots and Chanctonbury Ring Morris Men. It's done on the early May bank holiday (first Monday in May) and was originally done on May Day itself.

Thanks to Trevor Curry for the video.

Valmai (Lewes)


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Subject: RE: Folklore: May baskets
From: ChanteyLass
Date: 16 Apr 13 - 10:55 PM

In Rhode Island, May Day means May baskets and May breakfasts held as fundraisers, usually at churches but sometimes at other non-profit organizations like Masonic halls or VFW posts. Baskets are often sold at these breakfasts as part of the fundraiser, but people, especially children, sometimes make their own, often weaving construction paper into the baskets. My preference is for a May breakfast that includes johnnycakes, real maple syrup, baked beans, and apple pie. After eating a May breakfast--which is all-you-can-eat, no lunch is needed, To see the many other items that should be on the menu, click on this link. http://www.quahog.org/factsfolklore/index.php?id=96


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