I'm so late getting this out! The lateness of Easter this year has totally thrown off my sense of time!
Not too many people that I know still observe May Day or even know what it is - but when I was a kid growing up in Nebraska, we did. Not in the neo-pagan sense... I'm not really sure how this custom traveled to Omaha, or if it was widespread in the1960s or simply a regional oddity that came by way of a group of European pioneers to the area that stuck.
But this was May Day as a child - the week before May Day, the little girls would make cone shaped baskets out of construction paper and paper doilies, and then the morning of May Day, pick a few posies - from our mother's garden if we were lucky enough to have a mother who gardened... wildflowers from the field (and oh yes, dandelions were fine!) if not. The nosegay would go into the basket, and then we would stealthily (or as stealthy as a herd of little girls, giggling madly, can be) hang a basket on the front door of the house of some boy we liked, ring the bell, and run like mad to hide and stay anonymous.
Since we tended to do this as a group, the boy - or his mother - might see the group of girls keeling over in laughter, and still not know who the little admirer was.
It seems in my memory that May Day was our girlish response to what the boys were doing at Valentines - the secret professions of innocent love and admiration, the heart stopping anxiety that he might figure out who you were and not be happy about it - or worse, that he might mistakenly conclude it was someone else and like that just fine.
I wonder now if the boys woke up on May Day morning, hoping and fearing the sound of the doorbell ringing - or if the whole thing annoyed them and simply pleased their mother. Back then, it didn't really matter - we were just enjoying the cool morning, the flowers, and the not yet understood power of choosing a boy and offering up our girlish selves to them without being too forward about it.
So on another note - I haven't paid a lot of attention to the royal wedding, and then yesterday morning, caught a bit of the crowd on The Today Show and it occurred to me - the timing of this wedding actually works! In old lore, the marriage of Lord and Lady - King and Queen of the May - is what restores life and prosperity to the land. I expect most who are excited about this wedding aren't thinking in those ancient terms, but I wonder if subconsciously, that might not be a part of it... not simple celebrity chasing, but a symbol of hope during difficult times, that a happy pair of royals might translate to happiness in the land?