By Raven Grimassi
May doll still appears in May celebrations, although with less
frequency over the past century. The May doll's origin is traceable to
the Roman celebrations of the goddess Flora, associated with the month
May 1st, images of the May goddess were once carried in ceremonial
processions. In many parts of Europe a tradition arose in which the
May doll was carried from house to house. The face of the doll was
hidden by a piece of lace or a white handkerchief. The householders
were asked if they would like to see the May doll, the May lady, or the
queen of May. If they replied yes, they were expected to pay for the
privilege, and only after a gift had been made to the bearers was the
covering removed and the luck-bringing face displayed to viewers.
girls went about the villatge in pairs or in groups of three, carrying
a garland with a veiled doll in the center, and singing verses of the
traditional May song of their district. Like so many of the old
customs and traditions, this one has also disappeared over the years.