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May Day Food and Fun Traditions

May Pole

Yes, it’s already May. (Wasn’t it just last week that we were eating leftover Christmas ham?) Spring has sprung, for most of us. Today signals the middle of the season (cross-quarter day), much as Groundhog Day marks the passing of the middle of winter. It’s traditionally a day of celebration for workers; it’s even called International Worker’s Day in several countries.

Eating and drinking are important on May Day too.

The Romans celebrated with feasts and games, and they may actually have started the Maypole tradition. Their festival honored the goddess Flora, since it’s the season of blooms. Unfortunately, modern folk have lost the most important part of the Roman tradition: Celebrating for several days! They started on April 28th and didn’t stop until about May 3rd. Those old Italians, they sure knew how to party!

So if you eat Italian food today, you’re right on target.


The ancient Celts celebrated the feast of Beltane at this time, and the Germanic tribes marked Walpurgisnacht, pagan excuses to eat, drink and otherwise carouse. Good thinking! Drinking is preferred in the British Isles; and if you’ve ever had “English Cuisine” you’ll know why. The Germans, they’ve got sausages and beer, which are sufficient for any celebration, especially spring grilling. Even the Finns have gotten in on the occasion with Vappu. Their claim to fame includes mead consumption.

Whatever your traditional leanings, today’s a great opportunity to get out into the spring air and have a nice meal. So go on, eat and have a great time…

Enjoy the (Best Day of Spring) Heat!


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