Happy May Day, Texas! (A Guide to May Day Basketology)


I moved from the MidSouth to the Midwest in the fall of 1994. To say it was a different world is an understatement. It took a few months (years) to adjust to the cold, living in a small town (ok, I never got used to that), the windy cold, the dialect (“fixin’ ta” is not a thing there, nor is “coke” or “y’all”), and . . . the cold.


But pretty soon the culture shock of moving out of the big city subsided, and Iowa got under my skin: the rusted, old pick-up trucks, the farms, the snow drifts, the big hair even in the 1990s, and the small town-ness of it all. It crept in and took up parts of heart that the South will never get back.

My favorite things about the Midwest is the people. They are hardworking and what you see is what you get. They are ethical, they are hospitable, they are refreshingly blunt. I love that. And they celebrate an awesome little holiday called May Day.

May Day, which is celebrated on May 1, celebrates the dawning of spring. And spring in the Midwest is a BIG DEAL!


Although Southerners have often never heard of it, many people all around world recognize May Day. You can read about its origins here. In the U.S., May Day is celebrated by putting together a basket for unsuspecting neighbors. And if you ask me, there is nothing more lovely than receiving something from kind neighbors.

There are May Day traditions, dos and don’ts, if you will, but I only loosely follow them because I’m a rebel like that. Don’t tell this girl how to celebrate a non-national holiday. (This is the only way you’ll ever catch me being a rebel . . . May Day baskets, sheesh, dork alert)!


1. Put together a spring basket. Martha Stewart fill hers with perfectly cut flowers and perfectly tied bows, but she’s a kiss up, so I fill mine with other fun spring stuff that I think my recipients will like. It might even be in a cardboard box, because it’s fun to send May Day presents in the mail, too. Take that, Martha!

2. When your basket is just right, sneak up to the recipient’s door (or to the post office) and deposit the May Day basket on, or near, the door.

3. Knock or ring the doorbell.

4. RUN like the wind!!! (I forgot to tell you: Wear sneakers).

5. If you outrun your recipient, or just look crazy running back to your house because your recipient doesn’t come to the door, you win. If your friend or neighbor catches you, he or she gets to kiss you. (Probably not going to let my neighbors in on this little part of the rules because that’s just straight up awkward.)

The thing I hate about city living in 2014 is that we don’t know our neighbors, and that’s sad. My neighborhood has big front porches, and I bet in the days of old, people were sitting out there in rocking chairs, sweet tea in hand, KNOWING each other. Now we hide in our homes, stuck on computers, and wrapped up in imagined business (much of which is contrived by the technology that is supposedly bringing us together).


SO . . .

I propose that this spring, we make May Day a FORT WORTH thing! If you know your neighbors well, put together a basket that will suit them. If you don’t know your neighbors–what better time to get to know them and spread some spring cheer on May Day! The possibilities are endless, really. Popcorn and soda, or pancake mix and coffee, or homemade cookies . . . but always, ALWAYS throw some fresh flowers in there. It’s spring! Let’s celebrate!

What spring traditions do you celebrate?



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