The May Bush in Clara.

Clara Heritage Group marks May Day with traditional event

May 1 has in the past, held a special place in Irish traditional folklore and customs. For generations May Day marked the start of the festival of Bealtaine, and was one of the quarter days, similar to Imbolg (1st February), Lunasa (1 August) and Samhain (1 November).

It was customary for generations past to decorate a May Bush or create their own from a cutting from a Hawthorn tree with ribbons, tinsel and empty egg shells.

For others, a shrine to Our Lady - the Virgin Mary would be created for the month of May and decked out with wildflowers.

Clara Heritage Group decided to bring back the tradition of decorating the May Bush last Friday and arranged for the tree in the Square to be festooned with ribbons. Together with the local St Vincent de Paul shop, which was decorated with May blossoms, wild flowers and a miniature May bush - Clara Heritage Group ensured that awareness of the old customs and folklore was brought to a new generation.

Those that attended the event were delighted to see the old customs being brought to the fore once again and felt the burst of colour in the square was refreshing during these strained times.

Mary Kinahan helping Clara Heritage Group bring back some of the older traditions.
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