7 Fun Ways to Celebrate May Day!

For years I wanted to do a May Day celebration, but I was never quite sure what it was all about. It seemed like such a fun celebration of all things spring! Apparently it never quite caught on in America because some of the festivities were a bit too “lively” for the early Puritan’s taste…lol.

May Day takes place approximately halfway between the spring equinox and summer solstice. So even though it’s technically already been spring for a little while, this is traditionally when spring’s return was celebrated!

Maybe having kids was the push I needed, but we were finally able to make May Day happen! I did some research to see what festivities traditionally happened on May Day, and I found a ton fun things!

So many, in fact, that I just can’t ignore this holiday any longer. The hard part is narrowing it down to which festivities you actually want to do (or making time for them all)!

Here are seven ideas to help you celebrate May Day this year!

1. Gather wildflowers and green branches.

It’s time to decorate your home with arrangements of all the things you can find outside! Traditionally this was called “Bringing in the May”. If you’re like me, you might head outside and snip some flowers growing on your bushes or as part of your landscape. Seriously, I only had one daffodil bloom in our yard and I snipped it immediately to bring inside.

Otherwise, try and find some wildflowers and twigs with new green growth to collect! Then, make pretty arrangements with them in jars or vases and spread them around your home!

Small boy and mom clipping flowers off bush as part of May Day celebration.
Getting some flower clippings for our bouquets.
Small boy putting clippings in vases for May Day arrangements.

2. Light a bonfire.

One standard tradition of May Day is to light a bonfire. But perhaps we can skip the contests where people would take turns jumping over it…that seems crazy. Maybe I can relate to the Puritans just a tiny bit after all…

Small boy stands in front of fire as part of May Day celebration.
Our fire didn’t quite make it to bonfire status, but we figured a regular ‘ol fire would do.

3. Decorate the front door of your house (and your livestock!).

I had a little chuckle over this one at the idea of decorating my livestock with flowers. But at the same time I found myself wishing for a cow or perhaps a nice goat so I could make a lovely flower garland for its neck.

So if you happen to have livestock or pets that will tolerate such things, go crazy! And send me pictures, because I’d really love to see that! Otherwise, like me, you’ll just have to settle for decorating the front door.

4. Make a flower crown.

I’m always an advocate for a good flower crown, and May Day is the perfect opportunity! Gather or purchase some flowers and greenery and weave it into a festive crown for the occasion!

Artificial flowers that you already have around the house are an option as well. And the flowers won’t wilt on that one, so your kids can play with it forever and ever. Here is a great tutorial that shows you the basics of flower crown making or check out these floral twig crowns we made!

5. Make and dance around a maypole.

Maybe the most recognizable of all May Day traditions is the dance around the maypole! Check out this beautiful maypole tutorial for some inspiration and simple instructions! If you’re not up for the construction of an actual pole, an alternative is to decorate bushes and/or trees in your yard by simply hanging ribbons on them.

We made this simple pole for May Day that was a bit on the short side for the kiddos (and because I was short on supplies). While we didn’t have enough people to hold all the ribbons, my little guy still had fun holding most of them by himself (after I got to dizzy to carry on) and running circles around it!

6. Go barefoot outside.

May Day was traditionally when children would go outside barefoot for the first time that year. Why not join the tradition and ditch the shoes while you frolic outside today? Weather permitting, of course. I realize some locations (including my own) could very well still have snow on the ground.

Mom and small boy's bare feet on grass as part of May Day Celebration.

7. Leave a May basket for your neighbors.

Another May Day tradition is to leave a basket of flowers you’ve collected anonymously on a neighbor’s porch. What a fun idea! Not to mention how delighted people would be to find a basket of fresh flowers on their doorstep!

Traditionally, the people leaving the basket would yell “May basket” and then run away. Instead, you might perhaps try a knock or even ding dong ditch just to make sure your beautiful basket of flowers actually gets discovered!

Check here for some really cute May basket inspiration! For some printable May Basket tags and other spring activity ideas, check out our printable spring activity packet!

Flower basket hanging on front door as part of May Day celebration.
May basket hanging on front door as part of may day celebraion.

I don’t know about you, but these traditional May Day celebration ideas had me super excited to add a new holiday to our repertoire! Because who doesn’t want more holidays and fun events to look forward to? Me and my little guy had a great time with these activities, and I hope you and yours do too!

If you’re looking for more great spring activities to do with your kids, try this nature rainbow craft or check out our list of the best spring activities!

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2 thoughts on “7 Fun Ways to Celebrate May Day!”

  1. Pingback: 29 of the Best Spring Activities to do with Kids - Our Days Outside

  2. It was such fun to read about your May Day activities! I fondly remember as a child making May baskets for our neighbors, leaving them anonymously on the porch and ringing the doorbell and dashing out of sight. It was a way to show love and kindness to our neighbors!

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