Canti Di Maggio – Mayday Traditional Festivities Tuscany, Italy

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May Day is a tradition still alive today in Tuscany, Italy as an allegory of the return to life and rebirth. The magic-propitiatory rite is often done during a questing where, in exchange for gifts (traditionally eggs, wine, food or sweets), the maggianti or maggerini sing auspicious verses to the inhabitants of the houses they visit.

The symbol of the rebirth of spring are the alder or laburnum trees accompanying the maggerini and flowers (usually violets or roses) used by the participants to adorn and are also mentioned in the verses of the songs.

The alder tree in particular, which grows along the streams, is considered the symbol of life and that is why it is often present in the ritual.

It is a celebration that dates back to the Celts (Beltane) and Etruscans celebrating the arrival of summer.

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