May 1st was always an exciting day when I was a kid. I loved making May Baskets! Ringing doorbells and bolting before someone answered was exhilarating. What kid wouldn’t like that!? I remember poking a pipe cleaner through a paper cup for a handle and filling the cup with Smarties, Tootsie Rolls and other goodies. I always understood the custom as just a nice, fun thing to do.
May Baskets are a longtime tradition celebrating spring. According to Wikipedia, if the person leaving the basket gets caught by the recipient they exchange a kiss! I never participated in that part of the tradition. Plus, I was way too fast to ever get caught! The goal for me was to kindly give an anonymous treat. Marci Matson of the Edina Historical Society concurs and says the tradition is mostly practiced in the Midwest/North area.
Now that my son is approaching 3, I decided to reignite this tradition. Below are images of the May Basket I constructed.
To make my May Basket, I used fantastic instructions I found in Mary Pawlak’s autobiography. I love these instructions and the historical information provided for the paper cones called koolyoks. I have used this technique once before for my Lobster Boil Son + Father Joint Birthday Party. Guests scooped their own mixtures of nuts into the koolyoks.
I love using paper-ware for party food. It provides an opportunity to customize your party and is easy for clean-up! Also, friendlier on the environment (which is always on my mind).
I decided I wanted the handle of my May Basket to be made of something natural. I punched holes in the backside of my koolyok and arched a Waxflower stem through them. I taped the stem to the paper on the inside of the koolyok for added strength. I used flowers from my local flower shop to fill my May Basket. If you have a garden or wild flowers, use those! I had lined my May Basket with wax paper, so I could pour just a bit of water in for the flowers. I wanted to keep the baskets appealing to a variety of people, hence using flowers instead of candy. The only other element to the May Basket was my little poem. After reading the history of May Baskets, I wasn’t sure all of my recipients would understand the gesture.
A May Basket for you,
celebrates spring anew.
Floral + green,
a smile will be seen.
That is exactly what I hope will happen… the May Basket will bring a smile to someone’s face. With my prototype done, I plan on making more May Baskets with my son to hang on our neighbors’ doorknobs in celebration of spring. I hope he enjoys this little tradition as much as I did!