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Goin' A-Mayin' and May Baskets

By Fiona Brigit
(Used with permission)

Goin' a-Mayin'

Goin' a-Mayin' is a fun way to celebrate the warmer weather that Beltane traditionally brings. To go a-Mayin' simply fill a picnic basket with your favourite foods, a bottle of wine or sparkling apple cider, a soft blanket and some snacks for wildlife you may encounter.

Go to your favourite picnic spot, spread out your blanket and enjoy your feast, giving thanks to the Gods and Goddesses for their generosity. If the picnic will be a family affair, be sure to bring a Frisbee or a ball for some fun after you eat. If the picnic is to be a celebration of an adult nature, be sure to find a secluded spot and enjoy some fun of a different sort.

After your picnic is complete, be sure to leave no traces of your visit, share some snacks with the animals and birds and if you bring fruit, plant the seeds to give back to the Earth.

May Baskets

I was fortunate enough to have been raised in a part of the world that is still steeped in many pagan traditions. My grandmother, who was an herbalist and midwife, taught me much of the knowledge of the "old ways" that she had been taught by her grandmother. Her favourite holiday was Beltane and a little of that enthusiasm rubbed off on me.

One of the traditions that I still observe today is leaving May Baskets on the front doors of my neighbour’s homes and giving them to anyone who happens to visit my own home - be it the postman, FedEx girl or a family member or friend who drops by. Making the baskets is a fun and easy craft and kids really enjoy helping out.

To make the basket, simply take a square piece of paper and roll it into a cone and use a bit of invisible tape to keep the cone from popping open. Attach a piece of yarn or string to the top of the basket so that it can hang and then add flowers to the cone. The paper can be as plain or fancy as you’d like and the flowers can be dried, silk or the first blooms from your own garden. If you’d like to leave fresh flowers, you can line the paper cone with cling wrap and paper towels and add a little water to keep the flowers from wilting.

You can use other things besides flowers for your May Baskets. You can add freshly baked cookies or muffins. Your children can pitch in with coupons for free yard work, baby-sitting or dog walking. You can even put some original artwork or handmade candles in them. Give a bunch of finished baskets to your children and instruct them to deliver one to each neighbour and wish them a happy May Day when they answer the door.

This is a fun way to share the early bounty of the season and spread a little cheer, too.


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This page last updated March 30, 2004