Saturday, April 27, 2013

May Day Tea


The approach of May Day always transports me back to grade school where the holiday was celebrated with much fanfare and festivity. Attending an all girls school, we could revel in this day featuring flowers, romance, ribbons and new outfits with unabashed exuberance. The May Queen and her court were chosen from among the students and ceremoniously crowned as groups of girls danced around a May pole weaving intricate patterns from colorful garland.
Of course that was more than a few years ago, and the event seems antiquated and quaint by today's standards, but I thought I'd revisit the day this year with a Tea featuring a traditional sweet treat and projects celebrating and the symbols of Spring.

May Day Fairy Garden 


I'm not sure zoning would allow a Maypole in my backyard but this mini fairy sized version is a fun alternative and fairly simple to create.
You'll Need:
Wide mouthed container
Potting soil
Rocks for drainage
Small plants, moss, or grasses
Princess wand ( I got mine at the dollar store) or small painted dowel
Floral foam
Assorted ribbon
Faux flowers and accessories
Place rocks in base of container and fill with soil. Place floral foam where Maypole will stand and cover with moss or grass Plant flowers as desired leaving generous "lawn" area for May pole.
I kidnapped a little clay cottage from the irish Terrariums from my Emerald Isle post and perched it among the flowers. 

A plastic princess wand from a dollar or party store makes a great maypole. I chose a white one with pearl and ribbon accents, but a dowel or small stick will do as well. Cut ribbons to desired length and add to top of pole. 

I had some lace dipped in ModgePodge from a previous project and popped that on top as a makeshift crown.
Being indecisive, I then tried a few "faux" flowers instead.

 Children around a MayPole, Ireland 1909 
image from national archives

image from Graphics Fairy
from 1859 French garden Book
May Day traditions date back to the time of the ancient Romans who worshipped the Goddess Flora with a festival of flowers and dancing. Through the centuries the holiday has been reinvented around Europe as a celebration of spring and rebirth. In the opening of Tess of the D'Urbervilles the village girls participate in a May Day parade and dance, wearing white to symbolize purity and holding symbols of new life and fertility. You may want to have a tissue box ready if you watch this somewhat tragic movie but the scenery alone is worth it.

From the 2008 BBC version of Tess of the D'Urbervilles

Syllabub
Syllabub is a recipe dating back to the Tudor age and was thought to be originally made by dairy maids using new fresh Spring cream. There are dozens of variations of this whimsically sounding dessert using different combinations of fruits, flavors and spirits. Some say milk was squirted directly from the cow into a bucket of sweetened wine. Forgoing the use of livestock, I found one of the more simple recipes using storebought cream and white wine from a charming book called Seasonal celebrations

by Tessa Evelegh


Recipe
Combine 3/4 cup white wine, zest and juice of one orange, superfine sugar in bowl and let sit for 2 hours
(I popped it in the refrigerator)
Whisk 1 1/4 cups fresh cream to soft peaks while slowly adding in wine mixture.
If desired, brush berries,flowers or mint leaves with agave or honey thinned with water.
Sprinkle with white sugar to frost and let dry.
Layer syllabub and garnishes in pretty glasses and serve immediately

The original instruction calls for edible frosted flowers, but not being able to locate any, I opted for sugared berries and mint as a substitute.
I spooned the dessert into mini parfait glasses from the Dollar Store
Find a quiet spot and enjoy


May Day Floral Cones

 Giving small floral gifts to family and neighbors is an old charming May Day custom, whether a small handful of wildflowers or a delightful May basket brimming with spring blooms.
 These dolled up party hats turn into festive floral May cones. 
Add any pretty paper, graphics below if desired and ribbon to hang.
In France Lily's of the Valley are the traditional flower of May Day so I included one, along with a French greeting on these pretty graphics from the graphics Fairy.
These cones make fun party favors as well.
 Wrap stems with plastic wrap and pop into cone for a temporary home.
 In some cultures, cones of flowers are stealthily hung anonymously on doors to surprise recipients. Kids especially love the "sneaky" aspect of this tradition.


Surprise someone



For fun facts, history and authentic Mayday songs visit 
May Day traditions

PennyWise Tips

Create a May crown by attaching fresh or faux flowers to a cardboard headband and crown a May Queen
 (or a few to prevent jealousy)

Serve floral infused teas to carry out the Spring theme and garnish store-bought cookies with fresh mint and fruit

Does your house need a Spring Spruce-up?
Enter our giveaway for a chance to win a beautiful European handcrafted house number from Ramsign. 
Contest open until April 30.  
Details Here or visit previous post


Visit our Your Invited Page for fun Linky Parties

65 comments:

  1. woow..... that´s some great jobs :)
    and do not miss......

    SATURDAY SHOW OFF

    it is FUN :)
    WELCOME
    Håkan ( The Roseman)

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    Replies
    1. Thanks so much!
      I will visit! :)
      You have the most beautiful flower photographs
      Cheers

      Delete
  2. Love all of your May Day touches! So many neat ideas.

    Happy to have you at Seasonal Sundays!

    - The Tablescaper

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much-
      and thanks for hosting your wonderful Sunday parties!

      Delete
  3. Wow! what a pack filled post and so informative. Lots of history and great pictures. Thank-you. I love the cones with the vintage graphics.
    Happy Spring
    Peggy

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    Replies
    1. So glad you liked the post Peggy-
      The cones are super easy to make!
      Happy May!

      Delete
  4. This post was so much fun to read and view, and I just adore your little fairy garden!

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  5. Hi Cristina, I love your cones flowers so much!
    Have a nice sunday
    Cristina

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    Replies
    1. Thanks so much!
      They are easy and fun to make!
      Happy May!

      Delete
  6. Beautiful Christina! Great information too. Loved all the ideas
    Patty

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  7. This is lovely! I love the tradition of May Day surprises. When I taught elementary school we made little cones to fill with flowers to leave as surprises. I have fond memories of dancing around a May Pole when I was in first and second grade. Then the tradition was dropped and school children didn't get to do this festive activity. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Hi Sarah,
      That sounds like such fun!- your students must have just loved surprising everyone with flowers- Sadly I don't think many schools celebrate May Day anymore. Thanks so much for dropping by and I'm glad the post bought back some happy memories!
      Cheers
      Christina

      Delete
  8. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  9. So so nice ! Love your fairy tiny garden ! so pleased to be your newest French follower !!
    Xoxo from PARIS

    Joëlle

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Merci Beaucoup Joelle!
      So thrilled to have you as a follower!
      From Paris! I'm so jealous
      So glad you enjoyed the mini gardens and thanks for your kind words-
      Cheers!

      Delete
  10. Your May Day party is adorable! Great ideas!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much- it was lots of fun to put together!
      So glad you stopped by!

      Delete
  11. Wow, this all looks incredibly magical. I wish I was there.

    Cheers.

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    Replies
    1. Haha- Thanks Alli
      So glad you liked it- next year you'll get an invite :)

      Delete
  12. What a fun post! I love your miniature may pole garden. So cute. Your grass sure is green there! Ours is just starting to green up with the nice weather of the past few days. Blessings, Pamela

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    1. Thanks Pamela,
      It's funny, this is the greenest our grass has ever been this time of year!- we're trying to enjoy it while it lasts- last year by summer it looked like the prairie!
      Thanks so much for visiting and your kind words!
      Happy May!

      Delete
  13. What a fabulous post! I am so glad you linked up with Tea Cup Tuesday! I see your pretty tea cups there in the first picture. They look lovely. Tea cups outdoors always look lovely! : )
    Your fairy garden is so sweet! I have always wanted to make one. I made a Fairy School and have a multi part video series on it too for free on my blog.
    I enjoyed reading about May Day. It was one of my favorite holidays when I was a girl. In school we had a May pole. Then, when I was a grown woman, I had a wonderful opportunity to dance the May pole with a group of women. It was amazing! Such color and fun. Your May cones are very sweet. I think I will make some too and put one on my daughter's door in the morning. Thank you for the inspiration.
    Hugs,
    Terri

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    Replies
    1. Thanks so much Terri,
      I just love Tea Cup Tuesdays (and anything tea related)
      I'm so glad you enjoyed the post and will have watch your video for your fairy school- How fun!
      What fun to be able to dance around a Maypole as an adult! I did see a Maypole demonstration by grown-ups in a park nearby-it was so delightful and we could tell they were having a ball!
      Thanks again for your kind words and hosting your lovely parties-
      Cheers!

      Delete
  14. Teacups outdoors always look lovely and how green your grass is! Your wee fairy garden with the maypole is really cute. I like your cones too. Lots of pretty ideas, Christina. Thank you for coming to tea and enjoy your week.

    Blessings,
    Sandi

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    Replies
    1. Thanks so much Sandi-
      Love your weekly parties!
      We must have had the perfect combination of sun/rain as our neighborhood looks so green right now (the first green spring in a while)- I'll have to enjoy it while it lasts
      Thanks for visiting and for your kind words
      Happy May day!

      Delete
  15. Hi Christina, Your Fairy Garden and cones are adorable! We were in Germany and they were having a May Day festival in the town square. There was a beautifully decorated pole covered with fresh flowers and the children were dressed all in white. Can you believe we had gone out to grab a quick lunch and I didn't have my camera?
    Hugs,
    Sherry

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    Replies
    1. Hi Sherry!
      I'm so jealous - what a wonderful trip! That's such a shame about the camera-you'll have to go back :) doesn't that always happen on vacation?- our camera battery decided to die on us- where else?-The Vatican- hahah-
      Thanks so much for visiting and your kind words!
      Happy May!

      Delete
  16. What a very clever idea to create a May Day Fairy Garden. I need to remember that for Garden Club next year! It's charming.

    Love the syllabub and the flower cones, too. You were so sweet to share with us. I'm dropping over from Becky's blog party. Becky and I know each other off the computer, too, and I thought it was time to join in. Most of my things are colorful, but I had something "white" to share this time.

    Happy May Day to you and thanks for sharing with us!

    XO,

    Sheila

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So glad you stopped by Sheila!
      The garden was so easy and fun to make- and I don't have a very green thumb!
      These linky parties are such a fun way to find new blogs and friends- I don't usually have a lot of white either- though I love it- my flower cone had a whitish base so I figured that would work-so glad you found something white to enter too!
      Cheers!

      Delete
  17. It would be lovely if children celebrated May this way still - such lovely ideas - May Pole, Tussie Mussies - gorgeous dessert - beautiful post, I do appreciate you sharing with Home and Garden Thursday,
    Kathy

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    Replies
    1. Thanks so much Kathy,
      It's funny, so many people have said the exact same thing- maybe May day traditions will make a comeback-so glad you enjoyed the post- love your blog and thanks so much for hosting your parties- I always find such delightful ideas!
      Happy May!

      Delete
  18. Oh how this sweet post brought childhood memories rushing back. Growing up my elementary school always celebrated the end of school with the event of winding the Maypole. I can just see those gorgeous flowing ribbons. I love how you turned your fairy garden into a Maypole garden. So very cute! the May baskets are lovely. I love making them and tussie mussies. Thanks for sharing with SYC.
    hugs,
    Jann

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    Replies
    1. Thanks so much Jann,
      It's funny how many people fondly remember May day traditions- I wasn't sure when I wrote the post how many people would be that familiar with them but apparently quite a few. So glad you enjoyed it! Thanks so much for hosting your parties and your kind words!
      Cheers!

      Delete
  19. Lovely. Thank you for joining Home Sweet Home.
    Sherry

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much and thanks for hosting!
      Happy May!

      Delete
  20. Oh my! I learned so very much from this fabulous May Day blog post...just fabulous! I had forgotten so many of the old May Day traditions since most of them have fallen by the wayside. I love your teeny tiny May pole. You should share this post over at Alison's "The PoloHouse" blog...she has a special link party for the flowers of May Day.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Miss Kitty!
      So glad you enjoyed the post- it would be such fun to revive some of these traditions!
      Thanks also for the tip about The Polo House- I went right over and posted a pic on the party page- I had never seen that site before so it was so nice of you to share the info-
      Happy May!

      Delete
  21. Hi Christina, Thankyou so much for visiting my blog and leaving a comment on my May Day post. Your May Day post is wonderful! That little garden is so cute and those flower cones are great! What a great idea to use party hats, I will have to remember that. I have never been involved in any May Day festivities before. I only know what I know from books so it's nice to hear of someone who has actually celebrated May Day in true fashion. Have a great rest of your week! Gina

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    Replies
    1. Thanks so much Gina!
      I saw that you had a May day post on one of the linky parties and was so excited!- maybe this holiday is making a comeback-haha- I was surprised how many readers said how they had fond memories of May day as children-didn't know it was that popular- and of course for me it was a looooong time ago
      I really enjoyed your vintage images and loved the print flower cone!
      Cheers!

      Delete
  22. Hi Christina and welcome to Favorites on the First!
    So nice to see new faces and thank you so much for bringing
    this awesome post to share.
    I wish my grade school had celebrated May Day. I always wanted
    to march around a May pole. Your tablescape and the little cones are great.
    Thank you for giving us that recipe too. I will have to try it soon!

    Thanks again for linking up.
    xoxox
    Alisosn

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Alison-
      just love your site! Miss kitty recommended it and what a delight!
      So glad you enjoyed the post and thanks so much for hosting-
      Hope you visit again
      Cheers

      Delete
  23. I loved this post - so interesting and informative. It has been decades since there was any May Day celebrations around here. I faintly remember placing flower cones on door knobs and running away before being spied. I loved the fairy garden with its May pole.

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    1. Thanks so much Donna!
      I know- it's a shame a lot of these traditions are discontinued-
      who wouldn't want a surprise bunch of flowers on their door? :)
      Cheers!

      Delete
  24. Visiting from Monday Funday. I'd like to invite you to my Friday Flash Blog, where you can share your best blog entry of the week! The party goes on ALL weekend at thejennyevolution.com. And who knows, you may just get featured next week.

    Jennifer
    thejennyevolution.com

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    Replies
    1. Thanks so much Jennifer
      I'll pop over for a visit!

      Delete
  25. Love all your May Day pretties! The little fairy sized pole is adorable, as well as the cones. Thanks for sharing some of the forgotten meaning surrounding May Day.
    Hugs,
    Patti

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  26. Very sweet and thorough post on May Day. Best wishes, Linda

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  27. Great post, I love your photos they are beautiful!

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    1. Thanks so much- so glad you enjoyed it!

      Delete
  28. Loved this post! Your little Fairy garden with the tiny May Pole and little cottage is so pretty. All of the May Day decorations were beautiful. It would be fun to bring back the May Day celebrations that our grandparents and great grandparents enjoyed.

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    1. Hi Susie!
      Thanks so much for your kind words -
      I agree it would be such a fun holiday to revive!
      Cheers
      Christina

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  29. What fun ideas-so creative!! :)
    Susan

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    1. Thanks so much Susan- stop back and visit us again! :)

      Delete
  30. Hi Christina,
    Your May Day post is so beautiful and informative! I'm a big history buff-esp. social history. I hadn't really thought about May Day since I was in grade school and didn't know much about it. I'm extending an invitation to you to link up to my Vintage View Sunday Link party: http://sundayview.blogspot.com/p/vintage-view-sunday-blog-party.html

    Glad you found me.
    Your new follower,
    Laura from sundayview.blogspot.com

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    Replies
    1. Thanks so much Laura,
      So glad you enjoyed the post and I'd be delighted to link up to your party!
      I'm fascinated with social history as well- especially in terms of how people celebrated holidays and I love the idea of revisiting some old traditions! So glad I found your site-
      Cheers!

      Delete
  31. What a party last week on Friday Flash Blog! Thanks for joining us. I hope you’ve visited some of the other community members and you're having a splendid week.

    Jennifer
    thejennyevolution.com

    ReplyDelete
  32. Hi Christina,
    I wanted to let you know that I featured this post on Vintage View Sunday!
    Hugs,
    Laura
    http://sundayview.blogspot.com/2013/05/vintage-view-sunday-2-hotel-silver.html

    ReplyDelete
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  34. I can't believe I haven't been over to visit you more often! This is amazing, and that Secret Garden one was incredible! I'm putting you in my blog sidebar where I can keep up with you, and plan to take some time and peruse your other posts. Thank you for all you share.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks so much!
      So glad you are enjoying the posts!
      Please pop back and visit!
      I've been smitten with mini gardens right now so am trying different ideas :)

      Delete

Love to hear your comments and suggestions!