Risky Regencies

It’s May

It’s May. It’s May. The lusty month of May
That lovely month when everyone goes blissfully astray…

from Camelot, Lerner and Loewe

Happy May! I don’t know about the rest of you, but here in Virginia we finally have our beautiful May when the cherry blossoms flutter to the ground while the dogwood and azalea bloom. The trees have those bright green new leaves and the grass is thick.

No wonder May Day festivities are common in lots of places.

I’m revisiting an old blog posting of mine about May Day festivities in the UK. Here it is, slightly altered for today.

May Day festivities in the UK have their roots in the spring fertility festivals of the Celts and Anglo Saxons. And today villages and towns still celebrate with May Poles, May Queens, and Morris dancing.

May Day celebrations in the Regency were less popular, but festivals in some towns and villages continued to celebrate Spring and the beginning of Summer.

Here’s a blog on All Things Georgian about May Day in Georgian times.

May Day is also called Garland Day in some places, where children make garlands and use them to decorate various things and march in parades.

Bonfires are often a part of May Day celebrations. Edinburgh marks May Day with the Beltane Fire Festival including dancing and fire displays.

Other celebrations include jumping into water. At the University of St. Andrews, students run naked into the North Sea. In Oxford Magdalen College students leap from Magdalen Bridge into the River Cherwell.

Unfortunately we are a few days to late for another tradition. We ladies should have rushed out to our gardens on May Day and washed our faces with the morning dew. Folklore says that May dew has magical properties and will give you a beautiful complexion all year round.

Oh, darn!

Happy May, everyone!

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Louisa Cornell
4 years ago

I love revisiting these wonderful traditions. I was in an airplane most of the day on May 1st, returning from the UK. I could have used a nice face wash in morning dew !!

Judith Laik
4 years ago

Diane, I was already playing the song in my head just from seeing your title (in the inimitable voice of Julie Andrews!) In fact, I was playing it already at the first of the month. Everything is abloom here also–lilacs, dogwood, wisteria, rhododendrons, all the fruit trees. Thanks for the article!

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[…] It’s May It’s May. It’s May. The lusty month of May That lovely month when everyone goes blissfully astray… from Camelot, Lerner and Loewe Happy May! I don’t know about the rest of you, but here in Virginia we finally have our … Continue reading → […]

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