A May wreath

Gathering wild flowers? Chopping the last of the lilac blossoms off the bush, or picking the first roses? Stealing from the neighbor’s garden or buying bunches of tulips from the roadside stand?

Everything goes when it comes to making the May wreath, a tradition dear to Greeks. Some add olive or laurel branches, and a head of garlic, to ward off the evil eye. The wreaths will adorn front doors and balcony railings, slowly drying up until the time comes to burn them on bonfires on Saint John’s day (June 23rd). Family and friends will jump over the embers for good luck.

 

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Discovering Traditions: May 1st and the Making of the Wreath by M.L.Kappa

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Solveig Werner very kindly asked me to take part in her ‘Discovering traditions‘ series, so I wrote a piece about the first of May, when Greeks make a flower wreath which they hang on their balcony or front door to celebrate the coming of spring.

This year May 1st coincided with Easter, so we had an abundance of celebrations. I took some photos of our wreath-making process, and I encourage everyone to visit Solveig’s blog to read my masterpiece – and, mainly, to discover all the lovely stuff she posts there!

 

 

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Solveig Werner

Discovering Tradition

Today, is the first of May, a day that is widely celebrated and that has various traditions attached to it. I am happy to have M. L. Kappa as my special guest for Discovering Traditions. You can find a list of all guest post that have appeared on my blog so far here, and you can find the previous guest post for Discovering Traditionshere.

May 1st and the Making of the Wreath by M.L.Kappa

FullSizeRender May Wreath by M.L.Kappa

One of the most fun Greek traditions is the making of the May Wreath. We call it Μάης (pronounced Màïs).

May 1st is universally known as Labor Day since 1886, when the Chicago Syndicates rebelled, asking for better working conditions. But celebrating it is not actually a 19th century tradition—it has roots in Antiquity, when festivities were held in honor of Demeter, goddess of the harvest, and

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