The last couple of sunny weeks have brought with them a very welcome reminder that summer is finally on its way. It’s taken all our willpower to not immediately put every coat we own into storage and unwisely drag out the barbecue, convinced that not a drop of rain will fall until at least late September.
There are two bank holidays on the horizon, with a much-appreciated three-day weekend this week in honour of May Day. But what is May Day all about, and how should you spend it if you wish to honour the history of something other than sofa sales and the garden furniture section of B&Q?
Traditionally, May Day heralds the start of summer and celebrates the worker. There are all sorts of weird and wonderful customs that are still practised up and down the British Isles – the weirdest of all, of course, is Morris dancing, which we haven’t included in our list of suggestions because…it’s Morris dancing.
Take a look at some other ways you can embrace the history of May Day, at home or at Center Parcs.
- Embrace rebirth and plenty – It’s the start of the most plentiful, bounteous season when crops flourish, livestock give birth and branches hang heavy with fruit. Revel in nature’s ability to regenerate every year by celebrating the returning migratory birds at Elveden Forest with Family Bird Watching.
- Celebrate Robin Hood – The Prince of Thieves was the hero of May Day in medieval times. Are you visiting Sherwood Forest for the bank holiday weekend? Not only are you in the midst of Robin Hood country, you can celebrate his story at the newly refurbished Adventure Golf course, with Merry Men aplenty!
- Make a daisy chain – Wreaths of wild flowers were traditionally worn after midnight on May Day Eve to bring good luck. Settle down in the sunshine and go full Alice-in-Wonderland as you weave together a garland of daisies – it’s a great activity for little ones to have a go at. Try this blog post if you’re unsure on the technique.
- Wash in the early morning dew – What, that doesn’t sound appealing to you? It’s a May Day tradition for girls and women to wash their faces in the morning dew in the belief that the refreshing water would enhance the girls’ beauty for the coming year. But if that’s a bit too wacky, why not book a World of Spa day at Aqua Sana, and get the same effect from the hot experience rooms, cooling ice fountains and refreshing outdoor pool?
- May Day lifting – Traditionally, the men of the village would lift the prettiest girls onto their shoulders and parade them around for everyone to see. But not only has this given our health and safety team palpitations, it’s also pretty icky. So why not celebrate the end of this custom on your break by hiring a tandem bicycle for you and your sweetheart, and pedalling around the Village in the sunshine, enjoying your modern equality (but if you get the back seat you can totally slack off and they’ll never know…).
- Enjoy the long weekend – Whether you’re joining us here at Center Parcs or spending the weekend at home, enjoy the extra day off work, the extra lie-in, the extra time to spend with your family. Why not start a new May Day tradition of your own to enjoy for years to come?