Discovering Traditions: May 1st and the Making of the Wreath by M.L.Kappa

Discovering Tradition

Today, is the first of May, a day that is widely celebrated and that has various traditions attached to it. I am happy to have M. L. Kappa as my special guest for Discovering Traditions. You can find a list of all guest post that have appeared on my blog so far here, and you can find the previous guest post for Discovering Traditions here.

May 1st and the Making of the Wreath by M.L.Kappa

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May Wreath by M.L.Kappa

One of the most fun Greek traditions is the making of the May Wreath. We call it Μάης (pronounced Màïs).

May 1st is universally known as Labor Day since 1886, when the Chicago Syndicates rebelled, asking for better working conditions. But celebrating it is not actually a 19th century tradition—it has roots in Antiquity, when festivities were held in honor of Demeter, goddess of the harvest, and Dionysus, god of grapes and wine.
Their purpose was to celebrate the fertility of the fields, the bounty of the land, the flowering of nature and the end of winter.
This tradition in various forms then spread throughout Byzantium and the rest of Europe. Continue reading “Discovering Traditions: May 1st and the Making of the Wreath by M.L.Kappa”

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Discovering Traditions: Novruz – Spring festival in Azerbaijan by Dr Gulara Vincent

Discovering Tradition

The 21st of March marks the end of Winter and the beginning of Spring. Today, I am happy to welcome back Gulara Vincent for this lovely guest contribution to Discovering Traditions, you can find her previous guest post here, and an overview of this blog’s guest posts here.


Novruz – Spring festival in Azerbaijan by Dr Gulara Vincent

Novruz is the spring festival dearly loved and widely celebrated in Azerbaijan (and many other countries too). When I was a child, it was not an official holiday. The Soviet Union disapproved of my country’s fire-worshipping and pagan festivities. People kept it going for seven decades though. In 1993, it became an official holiday in a newly-independent Azerbaijan.

Although Novruz is celebrated on 20-21 March, the spring festival begins a month in advance. First, all households had a massive spring clearing. We washed everything: bedding, windows, walls, expensive dishes displayed in cupboards, candelabras and floors. We also cleared rugs and carpets, mended clothes and made or bought new ones. New trees were planted and gardens were tidied up. Families visited their dead relatives’ graveyards to pay their respects. Continue reading “Discovering Traditions: Novruz – Spring festival in Azerbaijan by Dr Gulara Vincent”