She wears the crown of a May Day celebrant.

She wears the floral crown of a May Day celebrant.

The ancient pagan festival of May Day occurs on this day, May 1. Although we really do not celebrate this ancient rite anymore, at least in North America it is still important to not forget the old ways of our ancestors. The festival has its origins in Europe, from the Romans in honor of the goddess Flora, the goddess of flowers, to the Celtic and Germanic tribes with their various local deities. It is a holiday of growth and fertility, the abundance natural beauty in the world, the creation of new livestock and vegetation. Flowers and the beauty of floral arrangements are of particular importance in this old festival. The Catholic Church eventually incorporated this pagan ritual into the devotion to Mary, since May is traditionally a month in which she is honored. One of the great Marian events of the modern world, Fatima, occurred in May.

But as far as the pure pagan roots of this happy time of the year, a time when the days are getting longer and warmer and our world seems to be infused with the gentle light of a an ever precious spring, the special beauty of May Day is still worth celebrating.