How to Celebrate May Day

Looking for a reason to celebrate this weekend? Host a May Day Brunch
May Day Basket
Allison Beck

May Day Basket

May Day is an old pagan holiday that has been celebrated since ancient Roman times. In the northern hemisphere, May 1st marks the end of winter, and is thus a time to celebrate the upcoming growing season. It’s also an occasion to honor Flora, the goddess of flowers.

The best-known May Day tradition is the maypole, a tall pole to which ribbons are attached at the top. Dancers, each holding a ribbon, weave their way around the base of the pole making a unique, braided pattern. You need not make your own maypole at home, however, to celebrate the holiday — instead, host a May Day brunch party.


Instead of sending email invites, be inspired by another May Day tradition of “bringing in the May,” or leaving baskets of flowers on the doorsteps of neighbors. Traditionally, children would sneak up to friends’ front doors and leave a basket brimming with flowers on the door handle, ring the bell, then quickly sneak away before being caught. For your invitations, leave a small bouquet of flowers, like lilacs, tulips, or yellow forsythia, at the door (or in the mailboxes) of those you wish you invite. Tie the stems together with string along with a small piece of paper detailing the date, time, and location of the party.

Setting the Scene

As with any weekend brunch, keep the décor simple. If the weather is warm, sit outside or at least open the windows. Set baskets of potted spring flowers on the table for color and stack plates and silverware, already wrapped in napkins, nearby so you can serve the meal buffet-style.


Turn to delicious recipes that you can make in advance so you can enjoy the gathering, too. Set out a large pitcher of orange juice (fresh-squeezed, if you’re inclined), and make sure to have a couple of bottles of prosecco chilling on ice for mimosas. Have a batch of these quick-and-easy sticky buns baking as your guests arrive. The scent of baking dough and the sugary topping will have their mouths watering in no time. Serve them along with scrambled eggs and your favorite bacon. And don’t forget to put on a pot of coffee.