Hollow Hills Coven & Grove

an independent coven dedicated to teaching wicca and magic in hearth & home, coven & craft, tribe & tradition

   May 13

May Day Celebrations

40th May Day in Minneapolis, MN

40th May Day in Minneapolis, MN

After an extra long and extra cold winter, Spring finally has arrived in Paganistan, heralded by the 40th Annual May Day Parade and Festival in Powderhorn Park. It was actually the area surrounding the park, and the people who lived there, that inspired the name “Paganistan” in the first place. The term even has it’s own website and Wikipedia mentions it under the Neopagans in Minnesota entry, but the short version of where the name came from is this:

Paganistan is the generally accepted Pagan name for the Minnesota Twin Cities, which means “The place where the Pagans live.” The term was coined by linguist Steven Posch in 1989. Paganistan has one of the largest and most diverse Pagan populations in the United States

But back to the festival. It begins as a parade, continues into a Tree of Life Ceremony followed by a festival in Powderhorn Park. It’s where all the hippies, bohemians, lefties, free thinkers, artists, musicians, and of course Pagans spend the first Sunday in May in Minneapolis. Ten days have passed since the celebration, but memories will live on, and traditions continue year after year. This year was a little different for Jack and I, as we volunteered to help with the Twin Cities Pagan Pride info booth at the festival. Preparations were begun by Jack the day before, when he was mixing up a batch of May Wine to take to a friend’s house for the traditional May Pole dance and pot luck celebration after the festival was over.

May Wine In the works

May Wine In the works

We used two bottles of Riesling, a lovely white wine, and infused it with strawberries and dried sweet woodruff and let that soak overnight. In the morning Jack strained out the herbs and put the strawberries back in to make a wonderfully fresh and distinctively spring wine. It’s a tradition that goes back to Germany, and my husband has Bavarian ancestry and visited in Germany for a short while when he was in high school. I found a lovely article about it over at the Seasonal Wisdom blog, well worth a read or even bookmarking.

I think that Sweet Woodruff is going to have to go into our herb garden very soon. It would be nice to grow our own. But I need to get back to the story of the day, the celebration. The cooler was packed up and we made it to the park and found our booth location. After helping set up the booth, Jack took off to join in a friend’s annual pancake breakfast along the parade route.  It was an absolutely beautiful day, and we met lots of people and hung out at the Twin Cities Pagan Pride booth most of the day.  I wandered around a little bit, and mostly enjoyed the lovely spring weather.


Twin Cities Pagan Pride Fall Festival booth at the 40th Annual May Day Festival in Minneapolis, MN

That’s me in the blue hat enjoying a late afternoon gyro, and Doc is the dude wearing the other fun hat. It was a day to let you inner bohemian hang out and have a groovy time. After packing up the booth, we headed over to a friends back yard for BBQ and sitting around a fire, and we sang some very traditional May songs, which was wonderfull!

“I got up in the morning, much to my surprise,
I walked out to the garden, and fell down on the ice!
It is the first of May-o, it is the First of May!
Remember, Minnesota, it is the First of May!
We sing to you of flowers, of butterflies and bees,
But when we woke this morning, it was only ten degrees!
It is the first of May-o, it is the First of May!
Remember, Minnesota, it is the First of May!”

We were joined there by students from our first Seekers Class as well as some of the other visitors we’ve had to Hollow Hills Coven and Grove. It was a lovely time with friends old and new, and all my expectations were exceeded. Now that I’ve had a week to wind down, and a weekend to work in the gardens here at Applewood Cottage, I’m just feeling very grateful for having the opportunity to mark the coming of spring with our entire community. Spring, it seems, is a time for growth for us here at Hollow Hills Coven & Grove; and with that is the wonder and joy of watching flowers bloom.  The moon will be full tomorrow, and I intend to lay out some jewelry to soak up that glorious and subtle energy.  I’m looking forward to a season of love and magic. What about you?

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