Friday, May 1, 2015

“Blueberry-Lemon Muffins” To Celebrate "May Day"

 Every May 1st historians generally agree that May Day celebrations probably originated in ancient Rome. The May Queen would oversee crops and rule the day. Some places also selected May Kings. The crowns were typical made of twigs, leaves, and flowers. The Maypole was typically fabricated the night before. 

The men would strip down a birch tree and plant it in the ground; this ceremony was symbolic of fertility rites. The next day, both men and women danced about the Maypole. Several longs ribbons hung from the top of the Maypole holding up a crown of colorful flowers. Each dancer held an end of one of the ribbons. The dancers alternated man and women. All the women would dance in one direction and the men danced in the other direction. The dancers would go under the first person and over the next person, weaving the ribbons about the tree and lowering the ring to the ground. Today, this tradition is still practiced but danced mostly young boys and girls.

The Celts had a similar celebration known as Beltain, Beltane, or Bealtaine which in Gaelic means “Fires of Bel” or “Bright Fires”. The ceremony honored the god of the Sun and the rebirth of the earth. Feasting, games, and bonfires began on the eve of May Day and continued through the next day with a day of bonfires and merrymaking. It was customary for couples to walk through the fires smoke or leap over the flames to insure a successful relationship. Faeries were (and are) abundant on the first day of May. Windows were decorated with flowers and food was left on the doorstep to keep the mischievous faeries out. During this time women would wash their faces with the May Day’s morning dew believing it would bring a good complexion and everlasting beauty.

Remember the childhood rhyme April showers bring May flowers? Flowers are a big part of May Day celebrations. May Day brings the image of maypoles, collecting flowers, and the delight in finding a surprise basket of flowers on your doorstep. Throughout its history, May Day has traditionally been a joyous celebration of spring, femininity, fertility, and the coming summer. The first day of May is celebrated in many parts of the world. It is believed it evolved from ancient agricultural and fertility rites of spring. There are signs of the first celebrations in Egypt. However, the majority of the current traditions stem from the Roman Festival, Floralia. This was a five day festival to honor the Goddess Flora with offerings of flowers, dancing, ringing bells, May Queens and erecting a Maypole.

The Maypole is to celebrate May Day or Midsummer. It is most popular in Germany, Spain, France, Sweden, Austria, England, USA, and many other countries. In Italy, May Day is called “Albro della cuccagna“ which translates in English as “trees from the land of milk and honey.” May Day, is a public holiday all over Italy as the day of the worker. Many services will be closed but you may find interesting parades and festivals to celebrate the day. Maypole Dancing is now regarded as the most 'traditional' of May Day's characteristics.


In the United States today, a Maypole Dance is an important part of many Elementary, Secondary or High School celebrations. Often the Maypole dance will be accompanied by other dances as part of a presentation to the public. When I was in elementary school, our class had many “May Day” celebrations. It took place in the school yard and all the grades participated. Many of my readers will remember my grandmother “Nanni” who I have written about in past posts on my blog. For those who do not know her story, I will tell you a little about her. Nanni’s profession was a milliner and an interior decorator. She made hats for those of you who do not know what a milliner does. She was very creative and had finesse for making beautiful things. She had her own business which was called “Roberta Originals.” Well, one year she had heard that my school wanting to have a May Day celebration. She thought that it would be a wonderful idea if she made and donated the Maypole for the children to use for the celebration.


She spoke to the school and they agreed. So she made this huge very colorful Maypole. She attached streamers of colorful ribbons on the top and added decorations to the pole which gave it just the right touch. I was so proud that my grandmother (Nanni) made this for my school. After it was made, and the school had possession of it, we learned how to dance around it to create the braided ribbons. My family came to see the classes perform with the Maypole in the school yard that spring. If I remember correctly it was in the 1960’s. My parents took movies and photos of the Maypole celebration, but to no avail I have not found any photos yet. I have been searching for photos in my parent’s albums and boxes. If I find them I will post them on this blog.

Now, I have a very unforgettable recipe to share with you. It is a Blueberry Lemon Muffin. It is very good especially with a cup of coffee or tea. The blueberries are so sweet and the lemon gives this muffin a fresh flavor. As you enjoy these luscious muffins you can think about the flowers blooming and the sun shining. 
Plus the aroma of the muffins baking in the oven brings back memories of home, family, and fun mainly May Pole Dancing. 

Blueberry-Lemon Muffins

Yield: 12 muffins

2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
Zest of one lemon
1 egg
1 cup milk
1/2 cup softened unsalted butter
1 cup frozen blueberries

1/4 cup butter, melted
1/2 Tablespoon real fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup sugar

Preheat oven to 375°F degrees and spray muffin tins with cooking spray or use paper cups. Mix dry ingredients and set aside. With a mixer beat eggs, milk and butter. Add dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Stir in blueberries gently. Bake for 20-25 minutes.

For the Topping:
Combine butter and lemon juice for the topping. While the muffins are still warm, dip the tops in the butter and lemon juice, and then dip in sugar. Enjoy!

Till Next Time………………………………...

Copyright  © 2015 “Family Plus Food Equals Love” All Rights Reserved    


  1. So Mayday is a very old tradition. I didn't know that!
    Over here it does not feel like May as I am still wearing my winter coat! It is so cold still! Maybe it is better where you are?
    Your grandma looks so glam in the photo I can certainly believe you when you say she had finesse for making beautiful things. Such lovely memories for you.
    When I have seen your blueberry muffin my mouth was watering. Looks so tempting! Have a lovely weekend my friend xx

    1. Dear Alida,
      Thanks for visiting and for your lovely comment....Where I am as well, some days it is warmer but some days it is cooler, and the night have been really cool. I think we are going to go into summer more than spring. Mayday is old and it has a great meaning. My Nanni did have that flair for creating so many things, she was the one who taught me how to crochet. So my family says that I have got her creative way about doing things. I would never trade my memories from her in my life for nothing in the world. These Blueberry-Lemon Muffins are so tasty and I love the freshness the lemon gives it. You can leave off the sugar on top if you want, but that is what gives it the sweetness. Happy that you love it. Have a great weekend as well dear friend...
      Dottie :) xx

  2. Dear Dottie, It is wonderful to be back and visiting with my friends. My brother is out of the hospital and stayed with me a while to recuperate. It is truly a miracle. He does have a ways to go but I am so very grateful.
    Thank you for your prayers and good wishes.
    These muffins certainly look good to enjoy with a cup of tea.
    Blessings, xo Catherine

    1. Dear Catherine,
      I was just on my way to your blog now..I think I have missed a few...I am so happy for your that your brother is home and is on the mend. It is a wonderful thing that he can count on you for your help. I do believe that prayer really does work and I will continue to keep him in my prayers. I do hope that you had some rest in between, as it can get very stressful for you as well. Thanks for your comment about these muffins..they really are so yummy. I brought some over to my parents and they loved them. Have a blessed and wonderful weekend...
      Dottie :) xx

  3. Dottie ,
    The muffins look terrific , haven't been cooking much lately , thanks for your nice comment and hubby aunty is doing fine , hope to be back blogging soon ,
    Thank you again for your nice heartfelt comment ..... Nee ;- D

    1. Dear Nee,
      Thank you for taking time out of your busy day to make a comment...So glad to hear from you..we all miss you and Louise. Glad that your husbands Aunty is doing well. God bless....My prayers are with you all...Enjoy your week....dear friend...Love and miss you...
      Dottie :)

  4. I love this post. Very informative and well-written. And those muffins look *so* delicious.

    In just a few days I'll be baking a pear pie for my friend's birthday. Photos to come on my blog, A Path to Create, Not Find Check it out if you're interested. :-)

    - Audra

    1. Hi Audra S.
      Welcome to "Family Plus Food Equals Love." Thank you for your comment. These Blueberry-Lemon Muffins are really Yummy! I would love to check out your blog, and I hope that your pear pie comes out not only beautiful but delicious as well. Thanks again have a good week and please come back as I post on every Friday and Tuesday for new and interesting recipes and stories.
      Dottie :)