May 1, 2012: May Day, Beltane, Mother Goose Day, Chocolate Parfait Day

~★~♥~♥~★~ El Morno! ♥~★~★~♥ ~
May 1st, 2012

peony flower
★~Today’s Quote: “What potent blood hath modest May.”-  Ralph W. Emerson

★~ May Day

 The lusty month of May! May Day has been a traditional holiday celebration since ancient times. On this day, spring festivals and Maypoles are common. The Maypole is a tall pole that is covered with streamers, flowers and other decorations of spring. People grab hold of a streamer and dance around the pole to ward off ol’ man Winter for good. Since the 1880s, May Day has been celebrated in some countries, particularly socialist nations, as a labor holiday. In Hawaii, May Day is Lei Day. It’s a day when friends, lovers, bosses, relatives … just about anyone and everyone … gives the gift of a lei to another, putting it around the receiver’s neck and accompanying it with the traditional kiss. 

★~  Beltane:

The sprouts are surer of themselves, the fragrant smell of fresh mowed grass sporadically wafts through the air, and we have the desire to move outside into the sunlight and warmth at every opportunity, perhaps even sitting on a sun-warmed front step and watching the world pass by for a few minutes. Beltane is an old Celtic fire festival, celebrating life, fertility, and growth. To learn more about Beltane click here to meet El Morno’s favorite witch who shared Beltane history with us last year.

★~Mother Goose Day:

I love nursery rhymes. Cole’s third birthday was Mother Goose themed, and we invited all the kids to come as their favorite nursery rhyme characters. I dressed up as Mother Goose and Cole was, of course, King Cole (a merry old soul). I had no idea that the rhyme “Old King Cole” went back to the first millennium, where the pipe was likely to have been the double aulos, an ancient reed instrument, and the bowl a type of drum. In addition, the word coel is the Gaelic word for music, so could “Old King Cole” be the “Old King of Music” — the venerable leader of a band, playing the pipe and drum with his fiddlers three? Or could he have been a real person. There were three candidates dating back to the Roman occupation: the three rulers of Colchester, known as the Kings of Cole. Almost all nursery rhymes reflect events in history, which is why when you actually listen to the words, they can be somewhat gruesome. Check out “Did You Know” (below) for more information about the origin of your favorite nursery rhyme.

★~ Chocolate Parfait Day:

Parfait is a French word meaning “perfect” that began to reference a layered, frozen dessert back in the 1890s. American parfait desserts are normally made by layering cream, ice cream, flavored Jello, yogurt, puddings, or other similar ingredients.  Fresh fruit, whipped toppings, syrups and fruit liqueurs can also be incorporated into any basic recipe. Normally, a parfait is created in a tall clear glass, making all the layers visible.  There are even special parfait glasses used for the ice-cream sundae versions. Click here for a 10 minute Chocolate Parfait recipe from the Food Network

★~ Today in History:

♥~ 1885 – The first skyscraper in America was under construction. No, it wasn’t in New York. The ten-story (138 feet [42 m]) Home Insurance Building was located on the corner of LaSalle and Adams in Chicago, IL.

♥~1941 – Cheerioats, a ready-to-eat oat cereal, was introduced by General Mills. The name of the cereal was changed to Cheerios in 1945.

♥~ 1955 – Jockey Willie Shoemaker rode the legendary Swaps to a win in the Kentucky Derby in Louisville. The Run for the Roses was worth $108,400. (Swap’s colt, Chateaugay, would win the 1963 Derby with the exact same time as his daddy’s: 2 minutes, 1-4/5 seconds.) This was Shoemaker’s first Derby win. He would win again in 1959 aboard Tommy Lee and in 1965 on Lucky Debonair.

♥~ 1967 – Elvis Presley got hitched to a girl he had dated since his army days in West Germany. Elvis and Priscilla Beaulieu married in Las Vegas, NV. The wedding cake, incidentally, cost $3,500. The marriage lasted until 1973

♥~ 1979 – Elton John became the first pop star to perform in Israel. In three weeks time he also became the first Western solo pop performer to tour Russia.

♥~ 1991 – As a Texas Ranger against Toronto, Nolan Ryan pitched his seventh career no-hitter.

★~Born Today:

♥~ 1939 – Judy Collins singer: Both Sides Now, Amazing Grace, Send In the Clowns

♥~ 1967 Tim McGraw singer: Welcome to the Club; LPs: Tim McGraw, Not a Moment too Soon, Everywhere, Place in the Sun

♥~ 1983 – Jennifer Ellison actress: Brookside, The Godfather, The Commander: Abduction, The Phantom of the Opera

★~ Did You Know:

♥~ Many but not all nursery rhymes were a written to reflect events in history.

♥~Ring Around the Rosy is suppose to be about the plague but it’s not. It seems that the interpretation for this nursery rhyme came six hundred years after children had been happily reciting it. The more likely explanation of where this rhyme came from was found in the religious ban on dancing among many Protestants in the nineteenth century, in Britain as well as in the United States.  Adolescents found a way around the dancing ban by creating what was the play-party which  differed from square dances only in their names and their lack of musical accompaniment. They were very popular. Ashes Ashes probably comes from something like Husha Husha which was a signal to  stop the ring,  fall silent and sit down.  (Snopes)

♥~ Jack and Jill have a rather sordid history. It is said that Jack was Louis the XVI who was beheaded (lost his crown, not broke) and Jill was Marie Antoinette (who came tumbling after.) It’s fair to say this was changed a little when Jack and Jill became a “Mother Goose” nursery rhyme.

♥~ Three blind mice goes back to the English royalty in England. The daughter of King Henry VIII, Queen Mary I was the ‘farmer’s wife’ referred in the tale. She was a prudent Catholic who had a vengeful temper. This gave her the nickname ‘Bloody Mary.’ She owned many lavish estates in Spain alongside King Philip. The three noblemen who were of Protestant faith (but were not blind!) were accused of plotting to kill the Queen because of her different faith. She had the last say on that, though, not beheading them but burning them at the stake.

♥~ Remember the old woman who lived in a shoe?  Some say it was Queen Caroline who had eight children. Others say it was King George who was referred to as an old woman and the children represent members of Parliament.

♥~ Little Miss Muffet was a small girl whose name was Patience Muffet. Her stepfather, Dr. Muffet (1553-1604) was a famous entomologist who wrote the first scientific catalogue of British Insects. Whilst eating her breakfast of curds and whey Little Miss Muffet was frightened by one of his spiders and ran away! The story goes that her father wrote the rhyme for her…true? Who knows. but it’s a good story.

Reading about the real meaning of nursery rhymes made me giggle; it truly may be one of the best examples of the difference between the adult mind and the child mind. The child sees a party game and the adult sees the plague. While some of the rhymes might have been historically inspired, they might also simply be a collection of words and sounds that were fun to say together. John Lennon may have explained it best: “We’ve learned over the years that if we wanted, we could write anything that just felt good or sounded good and it didn’t necessarily have to have any particular meaning to us. As odd as it seemed to us, reviewers would take it upon themselves to interject their own meaning into our lyrics. Sometimes we sit and read other people’s interpretations of our lyrics and think, ‘Hey that’s pretty good’”. If we liked it, we would keep our mouths shut and just accept the credit as if it was what we meant all along.”

Kind of scary to think that many of the things we take as absolute facts may, in fact, be one person’s misinterpretation passed down for generations. Even scarier is the fact that it does not take generations to pass things around anymore; all it takes is a computer click.

Hope you have a very Merry May Day….and if a little lust should blow your way….Blessed Be!

3 thoughts on “May 1, 2012: May Day, Beltane, Mother Goose Day, Chocolate Parfait Day

  1. Happy May Day! Another month already. Seems like we were just saying rabbit rabbit yesterday. Like the Lennon quote good point.
    Off and running. Have a good one.

  2. My first born was born in the month of May and so I’ve always loved it. You plant your herbs and vegetables, another reason to love it. Children graduate in May and yet a third reason to love it so I am grateful and embrace this great month with joy! To top it all off I adore Judy Collins and have had the privilege to have seen her live several times. Everything you mentioned this morning including the history of the nursery rhymes is delightful! I almost forgot the most wonderful reason to adore this month and that is the celebration of Mother’s Day which is my all time personal favorite. It’s this day that I truly understand the favor of the Almighty. So I thank you for the morning reminder that we have so much to be grateful for this happy day of May.

  3. Mom always remembers to give me a card on May Day; being a former journalist, I always associate May 1 with Law Day. Regardless, I did remember to say Rabbit Rabbit first thing this morning — although my baby bunnies have finally flown the coop!

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