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Festivals: Floralia & May Day (1st May)

Type: Reference material

Details about the origins of the Roman festival Floralia and May Day.


A festival originating from Ancient Rome when the Romans celebrated the goddess of flowers, Flora, and the beginning of spring. The festival was then known as 'Floralia'. The celebrations included playing games, singing, dancing and feasts. People would decorate everything with flowers, and wear them in their hair. At the time of the Roman Empire, each occupied country (including Britain and large parts of Europe) added their own special touches to the festival and it became known as May Day. A similar ancient festival from the Anglo-Saxons known as Beltane is still celebrated today in parts of Scotland.

May Day

These days, May Day is more a celebration of new life and the beginning of spring. Different celebrations include choosing a May Queen to 'head' the day's festivities, dancing around a maypole, morris dancing, collecting flowers, and a belief that a girl should wash her face with dew on May morning to obtain lasting beauty.

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