Every 30th of April at dawn my in-laws put up a strange looking branch on the gate door it is called the May Bush and until now I was told that it is a very old Irish custom and not much more.
This year my husband helped to decorate it, I thought he was going mental breaking so many eggs this morning!
So I decided that I would take a few shoots of it and look on the WWW for some information. What I got is from Irish Culture and Customs and it is pretty interesting:
"In old Ireland, it was believed that the 'good people' moved their place of residence between sundown on May Eve and dawn the next day. With supposed legions of spirit folk on the move, it was also thought that magic, both for good and evil, was at its most effective at this time of year - some even venturing to say it was even stronger than at Halloween.
For the most part, ancient Ireland was a rural society. So, most of the old customs and superstitions centered around farm life. All of the spring work - the tilling of the soil to produce crops - should have been finished by May Day. This was also the time when turf cutting began and when turbary - the right to cut peat or turf on another's person's land - was rented. And, according to custom, on May Eve, every family put up a May Bush. In many places, the May Bush was brought home and set up before the house and decorated with flowers, ribbons, paper streamers and sometimes, garlands of the colored Easter egg shells the children had saved just for this occasion. Sometimes candles or rush lights were attached to the bush and lit at dusk. In the few big cities that existed, Dublin for example, there were often many attempts to steal a community May Bush that had been created by a rival faction; in so doing, you'd be stealing the year's luck from the rightful owners. So, they would be fiercely protected until the evening of May Day, when the bush would be consigned to the dying Beltaine Bonfire which had been lit the night before."
Owner and Photographer of Momento Photographic Studio in Co. Kildare, Ireland.