Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Goddess of Flowers

Known as a "cross-quarter" day, May Day is related to the Celtic festival of Beltane and the Germanic festival of Walpurgis Night, as it falls exactly half a year from November 1, another cross-quarter day, and was traditionally an occasion for raucous celebrations. In pre-Christian European cultures, May 1st was originally the first day of summer, highlighted by the festival of Flora, the Roman goddess of flowers.

The reformed Catholic calendar notes May 1st as the "Feast of St. Joseph", the patron saint of workers, because seeding of the crops had been completed by this date and it was convenient to give farm laborers a day off. This is how May Day came to be associated with workers’ rights. Here in the United States, May 1st is Law Day, meant as a day to reflect on the role of law in the foundation of our country and to recognize its importance for society.

How fitting, then, that I, who have labored at law firms across four states over the past 24 years, should honor this day by donning my favorite spring dress of sheer rayon covered with pink roses and other spring flowers on a deep Navy background. I’ve been waiting for a chance to wear this floral confection once the weather warmed, and today, the first day of May, just happened to reach 80 degrees. This feminine piece with a sweetheart neckline was perfect for my long commute to the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.

I can remember the day I bought this dress. I had been working at JCPenney in northern California for several years as I put myself through college in the mid-1970s. Although my domain was the high-end electronics department, I frequently haunted the women’s fashion area to see what new styles had arrived. There it was, this lovely slip-on by Starina, hanging on a rack of new arrivals. I was smitten the moment I tried it on. And there were others. I ended up with three similar floral dresses, all of which I still own. I will be showing them off to you as summer progresses.

Today, I added ecru macramé peep-toe T-straps with wooden heels from Aldo and an old-fashioned necklace and earrings of pink beads that had belonged to my grandmother. I complemented my outfit with a pink Dea Dread by Thea Osato of Baltimore (http://DeaDreads.etsy.com) for my hair and a gold-metal bracelet-watch from Chico’s for my wrist to complete today’s look.

I can remember dancing around a Maypole in elementary school to celebrate May Day back in the early 1960s, and somewhere in my memory is a recollection of exchanging baskets of flowers and candy with other schoolchildren. Alas, no basket of sweets was left on my doorstep today, but I was not without flowers, as I wore them all over!
Tanz in den Mai!

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