It is May 1st today and Greece is celebrating Spring. The custom of Protomagia (May 1st) has its roots in ancient Greece and it celebrates Spring and nature with a flower festival.
Maios (May) the last month of Spring took its name from the Goddess Maja, a goddess who took her name from the ancient word Maia, the nurse and mother. May, according to Greek folklore, has two meanings: The good and the bad, rebirth and death. The custom celebrates the final victory of the summer against winter as the victory of the life against death go back at the ancient years and accumulated at the first day of May. This day was also dedicated to the goddess of agriculture Dimitra and her daughter Persephone, who this day emerges from the under world and comes to earth. Her coming to earth from Hades marks the blooming of nature and the birth of summer.
Another ancient celebration that Protomagia has its roots is Anthestiria, a celebration in honor of Dionysos (the Greek God of theater and parties) a festival of souls, plants and flowers, celebrating the rebirth of man and nature.
The Greek Custom of Protomagia ~ The May flower wreath
The custom of May 1st is to decorate the doors of houses with flower wreaths in a way to welcome the power of nature into our home. The wreath is made from various flowers, handpicked and knitted together. In some parts of Asia Minor, people put on each wreath, except flowers, a garlic for the evil eye, a thorn to protect the house from enemies and an ear for good harvest. The wreaths adorn the doors of the houses until the day of St. John the Harvester (June 24) when all the wreaths of the neighborhood are gathered and burnt in a big fire, the fire of the saint.
Today is the day we celebrate nature’s beauty and its freshness. Cut flowers from the fields and weave a colorful wreath, hang it outside your house door and welcome the power of nature and its blessing inside your home. Happy 1st of May!
Did you make your flower wreath this year?
Related posts you might like:
- The Greek Tradition of the “Clean Monday”
- Make This Thursday a Smelly One – Celebrate the Greek Tradition of Tsiknopempti
- Welcoming Spring with a Greek Tradition
Ioanna Aggelidaki is the Social Media Manager and Contributor of the Greek Weddings and Traditions Blog.
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