With only four weeks to the official start of summer, May 1st paints the scene for parties, celebrations, and holidays. Are you ready?

May day, May day!

Beginning with La Fête de Travail (known as National Labor Day in France, also La Fête du Muguet or Lily-of-the-Valley Day), or May Day as it is commonly called, we give Muguet as a symbol of happiness. Giving Muguet—lily-of-the-valley—or  dog-rose flowers, has its roots in 16th century France, when King Charles IX received lily-of-the-valley and so appreciated the gift that he started the tradition of presenting ladies in his court with the same the next year. In modern-day UK, celebrations include crowning with flowers of the May Queen, a young teenage girl, symbolic of springtime and renewal, purity and the center of nature, as the goddess of spring.

May day, May day!

In 16th century England, Maid Marian’s love for Robin Hood earned her a May Day affiliation with the fabled Robin, he of love and spring and festivities that began on May Day and continued through Whitsun, or the seventh Sunday after Easter.

Much earlier Celtic mythology touted their fairy queen as the goddess of fertility and love, with her crown of flowers suggesting future crownings of May Queens.

During WWII, France suspended its May 1st celebrations. Since then, however, they day is a holiday when if falls during the week. French residents won’t have the day off from work in 2016 with May 1 falling on a Sunday; though don’t feel too sorry for them, as they do, after all, have the Cannes Film Festival to celebrate, from May 11 to 22.

And before jetting off to Cannes, prepare for your Mother’s Day May 8 celebration here in the Hamptons. Continuing the theme of spring festivals, the Greeks and Romans celebrated mothers with their spring festivals dedicated to Rhea and Cybele, respectively, and early Christians followed the tradition with their festival in honor of the Virgin Mary (which was expanded to honor all mothers in England during the 17th century).

May day, May day!

The origins of Mother’s Day in the States stem from a movement during the Civil War by Anna Reeves Jarvis calling for Mother’s Day Work Clubs, which evolved into Mother’s Friendship Day, and then, through the work of Juliet Ward Howe (known as the composer of the Battle Hymn of the Republic), Mother’s Peace Day, to honor the fallen and those who were mourning lost soldiers, and asking for women across the world to join together for peace. The day officially became a holiday in 1914 after a nine-year effort of Anna Jarvis (Jarvis’s daughter), to honor mothers, including her own, and their sacrifices.

Today, countries around the world celebrate a form of Mother’s Day, including International Women’s Day. A few countries maintain earlier forms of the observance.

Even if you’re not a mother, you can still pamper the goddess in you with flowers, chocolate, film screenings, or, as Led Zeppelin envisioned, with your May Queen spring clean. Whatever your wish this Mother’s Day, A Votre Service Hamptons Property Management can help you with your shopping or cleaning requests.

Glory, glory hallelujah!

“If there’s a bustle in your hedge row, don’t be alarmed now;
It’s just a spring clean for the May Queen.”

—Led Zeppelin