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May Day Activities for Married Couples

Celebrating May Day Together -- May Day Customs and Traditions

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Photo: Peter Macdiarmid / Getty Images
Photo: Peter Macdiarmid / Getty Images
When May Day comes around, do you only think of sunny days, flower baskets, and dancing around a May Pole? Did you know that May Day and the month of May have both historical and cultural customs that involve marriage?

May as an Unlucky Month for Getting Married?

Although having a wedding during the May Day holiday is very popular in China, one May Day tradition from the past is that May is not a good month to get married.

According to Astrologycom.com, "In ancient times, May was a month of purification and religious ceremony in honour of the dead, and as such it was considered a very inauspicious time for marriage."

Apparently Queen Victoria of England believed this, too: "It has long been considered unlucky to marry in the month May because that time was reserved for the wedding of the Gods. Even the sensible Queen Victoria forbade any of her children from marrying in May."
Source: Mythic Imagination Institute

"May is named for Maia, grandmother, the Goddess of death and fertility. Maia scorns marriage, so it is a good idea to put weddings off until June."
Source: Salmonriver.com

This belief was immortalized in these old rhymes:

English: "Married in May and kirked (dressed) in green
Both bride and bridegroom won't long be seen."
Source: The Perpetual Almanack of Folklore, by Charles Kightly

Irish: "Marry in May and rue the day."
Source: Irish Culture and Customs

Why Should You as a Married Couple Want to Celebrate May Day?

May Day has long been considered a time of celebrating life and love, new beginnings, and having fun.

Although you don't need a special day or a special reason to celebrate your love for one another, some couples look for reasons. You can use May Day as an opportunity for creating a new tradition in celebrating your love in simple ways.

May Day Activities for Couples

Here are some traditional activities and some suggestions from us to help you and your spouse celebrate May Day.
  • Stay up all night and make love in the woods. "A-Maying", a "woodland wedding", and a "greenwood marriage" are terms that were used in the past for staying out in the woods all night, making love, gathering flowering hawthorn, and watching the sunrise together. If you are a bit uneasy about going out into the woods at night, we imagine that making love in your own backyard under the stars would be okay, too!
  • Sources: New-Age.co.uk

  • Attend a local annual May Day parade or festival.
  • The tradition of putting small baskets of flowers on the doorsteps of neighbors and friends is a reflection of the early custom of floral wreaths that were exchanged by lovers. Leave flowers or a flower inspired gift by your bed for your spouse to find upon awakening on May Day.
  • The morning dew of May has long been believed to be a mystical and protective substance. An early May Day tradition encouraged people to make a special wish as they washed their faces. Wash your faces with morning dew in thankfulness for being with the person you chose to marry.
  • People often decorated their water wells on the first Sunday and first Monday in May and made wishes if they drank from the well before sunrise. Make wishes together at a wishing well.
  • Plant a small pine tree in your yard. This reflects the German and Swiss tradition of young men secretly planting decorated pine trees near the bedroom windows of those they love.
  • Since May wine was considered a love ritual in the past, drink May wine together and toast one another.
  • Related: Sangria Wine Recipes.

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