My Messinia

May Day in Messinia

DSC_0204otvMay-the month of joy in which according to the Greek mythology Persephone returns to her mother Demeter after spending the winter with Hades, in the underworld.DSC_0088otvThe ancient celebration of May Day has continued throughout the centuries through various customs and traditions. One of the oldest celebrations was the “Anthesteria,” the first ancient Greek flower festival.DSC_0086otvThe Anthesteria included various processions where Greeks would carry flowers to sanctuaries and temples. The flower festival was first established in Athens and later was celebrated in other Greek cities in ancient Greece.

When the Romans arrived and conquered Greece, the May Day celebration continued to exist in some form but it was slightly changed, since both Romans and ancient Greeks believed that flowers represent the beauty of the gods and bring power, glory, happiness and health.DSC_0096otvOver the centuries, the original meaning of May Day was altered and the ancient Greek customs survived as mere folk traditions. May Day is one of the few holidays without any religious content whatsoever, and it is celebrated in most European nations.DSC_0063otvNowadays in Greece, one of the most popular May Day traditions, with its roots in antiquity, is still practiced. People pick flowers and use them to create a May Day wreath which will hang on their door until it goes dry. DSC_0118otvThe wreath-making process is meant to bring people closer to nature, especially in this day and age where people are preoccupied with their busy city lives.DSC_0176otv

 

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