GREEK PROTOMAGIA – FIRST MAY DAY
The custom of Protomagia has its roots in ancient Greece – it is a celebration of spring, nature, and flowers. Flower wreaths, typically made from hand picked wild flowers, will be hung on the doors of many homes in a way to welcome nature and all things good.
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 to the ancient years and culminate at the first day of May. This day was also dedicated to the goddess of agriculture Dimitra and her daughter Persephone, who on 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.
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.
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!