Everyone knows what May Day is. The celebration of labourers happens each year on the first day of May and is celebrated in a lot of countries across the world.
What we sometimes don’t know is that before becoming a public holiday, May Day was the celebration of spring and the rebirth of nature after the winter months. It was dedicated to the goddess Flora in the roman tradition and has also roots in the celtic culture focusing on the power and energy of the natural world. These traditions are deeply connected to the earth’s enduring cycle of birth, life and death, and the festivals around this event typically helds pagan values and were not well seeing by Christians. Traditional May Day rites and celebrations include Morris dancing, crowning a May Queen, and dancing around a Maypole.
In the Portuguese culture, the month of May ( Maio, in Portuguese language) had its origin in the word Maia, the mother of Mercury. “Maias” is a superstition throughout Portugal in which everyone traditionally decorate the doors of houses, windows and other places with common gorse flowers. The tradition requires that the locks and latches on all windows and external doors of the houses are decorated with branches of gorse in bloom, called “Maia”. If doors or windows do not hold a branch of Maia, it is believed that the devil will come and suck the blood of those who live there… !
Written by Letitia