May Day (Maifeiertag) on the first of May is an ancient Northern Hemisphere spring festival and usually a public holiday. The first day of May is celebrated in many parts of the world. In the Rhineland, where we live, May 1st, is also celebrated by the delivery of a Maypole (Maibaum) a tree covered in streamers to the house of a beloved person the night before. Often, the person who decorates and puts up a Maypole in front of a house, also places a painted wooden heart on the tree that bears the name of the recipient.
Flowers are always a big part of May Day celebrations. May Day not only brings the image of maypoles, but also of collecting flowers and throughout its history, May Day has traditionally been a joyous celebration of spring and the coming summer.
May Day is an ancient holiday that has its roots in paganism, stemming from the Celtic festival of Beltane and the Germanic festival of Walpurgis Night (Walpurgisnacht), in honor of St. Walburga, a nun who is believed to have cured the illnesses of many.
The Romans were the first to specifically mark the first day of May with a festival that celebrated the coming of spring. As Europe moved away from Paganism, May Day began to take on other meanings. It is now variously considered an International Workers’ Day as well as a day to celebrate the beginning of Summer, a national holiday and, perhaps most importantly, a day to have a party.
For our celebrations at home, I like to make a simple and pretty Lemon Buttermilk Bundt cake that needs no adornment other than some icing sugar. Make sure to use a lovely cake pan.
So why not celebrate the first day of May and the coming summer by baking a delightful little lemony cake and decorate the table with some wonderful late spring flowers.
I took these pictures today, downtown Bonn (Germany) and this one shows a Maypole that someone placed in front of a house near the City garage...
...and in the old part of the city, there are presently quite a numer of tourists taking numerous pictures of the wonderful cherry tree blossoms (Kirschblüten) - the fragile pink flowers will not last for much longer and it is always very special to see them appear on those trees around the first of May.
Whichever way you choose to celebrate the frist day of May today, this very special day certainly reminds us all of the coming summer and of nature´s incredible bounty that awaits us in the next couple of weeks.
- Backing pan called LURCH Flexi Royal Blankenburg from "Lurch" (http://www.lurch.de)