By Lia Grippo
On the nearest Saturday to May 1st, we gather as a community to put an old tree into the ground. Brilliant ribbons tied to its top make a shelter of sorts, like a large colorful tent. The outer boundary held by parents and loving adults, the small children gather within, bedecked in flowers and spring colors. There they dance, well, walk or skip, in a circle. Some are joyful, some bewildered, some concerned at being there without a parent’s hand to hold.
They circle, at the center of the community, wrapping the aged wood in the beauty of spring and the promise of summer. There, at the center, new life. And we, at the edge watching over it.
Once the children have finished their dancing, the adults step in, holding our ribbons like we would a partner’s hand. The music starts again, and out of the rhythm grows movement. Some traveling sunwise, others moonwise, we begin to weave together a pattern. We laugh as we go, for no reason other than because it is fun!!!! The children watch. They see the adults of their communities, move in unity, joyfully, playfully, again and again, and they know they are a part of something.
By Erin Boehme
The earliest May Day celebrations commemorated Flora, the Roman goddess of flowers and spring. May 1st, is the halfway point between Spring Equinox and Summer Solstice and is the celebration of the Earth, the Sun and fertility.
Traditionally, this was the day people would gather to make flower crowns, dance around the May Pole, and jump over fires as a symbol of purification. Since ancient times, horseshoe or circular shape crowns has been a symbol of purity, eternity and glory.
These rituals are rooted in gratitude and blessing the fertility of the land, while inspiring our own awakening and growth.
In the spirit of Spring, create a crown of foliage and flowers to fashionably wear while dancing the May pole or lounging around the yard or house. Children love to wear flower crowns and play dress up.
Long vines(Ivy, Honeysuckle, Trumpet vine, Periwinkle)
Long strong grasses
Long bendable green tree whips(Willow, Fruit wood, etc..)
Flowers with long stems found around your home
Steps 1-4 might require an adult or older sibling to coordinate
Steps 5-7 can be done mostly by children
1. Start by using the longest and most bendable material to create the crown form. (Wire or Plant material)
2. Measure the crown shape to the head for sizing.
3. Attach the material so that it makes a circle that stays together. Wire, vines, grasses and whips can be wrapped around themselves and woven together.
4. Add many layers of plant material until you have a sturdy base for your crown like a wreath.
5. Then take your long stem flowers and weave the stem through the openings in your wreath. Weave flower stems into the crown and continue going all the way around the circumference of the circle.
6. Try on the crown as you create to make sure it still fits.
7. Tie colorful ribbons to the back of the crown to create a rainbow of streamers. *If you only have greenery, it also makes a beautiful crown and the ribbon will bring the color!
Pro-Tip #1 Take a walk or play outside first thing to start the day.
The sunlight will help with circadian rhythms.
Pro-tip #2 Adults often watch children, but children learn through imitation. Instead, allow your children to watch you doing meaningful things around the house. If you are joyful in your work, they will learn that work can be joyful. They take their cues from those older than them. Children watching adults is healthy, which is why we say, they look up to you, it gives them something to imitate.
The Maypole Song
Here we go round the maypole high
the maypole high, the maypole high
Here we go round the maypole high,
let colored ribbons fly
Lasses and lads go skipping by
Lasses and lads go skipping by
let colored ribbons fly!
(To the tune of "This is the way we wash the clothes, so early Monday morning...)
Parent Survival Kit
Resources, Links and Stuff to Support
"We Got This!"
Pro-Tip #1 Be sure to take some time each day (at least 5 full minutes) to do absolutely nothing. (Movies, phones,and computer screens do not count as doing nothing.)
Pro-tip #2 Create some time to draw or paint. Do not invite your child to join. Sitting down and beginning is the best invitation. Be ready, they will ask to join you.
Pro-tip #3 Once you and your child are drawing together, they might ask you to draw a picture for them. Resist the invitation and say, "no, thank you, I am doing this drawing now." It's important to model the joy of creativity, while preserving that for your child. Often when adults draw for children, children tend to focus on the outcome of the drawing rather than the joy of freely creating and they might give up trying it on their own.
By Heather Young, Waterstriders teacher
May Day baskets are small baskets that have traditionally been left on doorsteps or hung on doorknobs on the first day of May. They are filled with flowers, and sometimes other small treats or gifts. You can make your own beautiful May Day basket to give to friends, family, and neighbors--or to bring some springtime beauty to your own home. Often, these are left as a surprise on the porches or doors of neighbors, early May Day morning. This is an opportunity to have fun being sneaky while doing good.
Did you know that the adult Ceanothus Silk Moth does not eat during it's entire winged life? It's larva feeds on native chaparral plants, but as adults they only mate, lay eggs and visit children to show off their fabulous antennae! -Gwendolyn, Cattails class
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Wild Roots staff authors include Erin Boehme, Lia Grippo, CJ Cintas, Anne McCarthy, Tyler Starbard, Jenn Sepulveda, Heather Young, Amalia Smith Hale, Natalia Pareja...