May Eve & May Day Customs from County Meath



A H Singleton, 1904;

‘On May Eve the threshold must be stewn with “May-flowers” (marsh-marigolds). On last May Eve, only a few days ago, I saw our cook coming in with a great bunch of May-flowers, which she told me she intended on strewing on the thresholds of all the entrance doors of the house, as, being May Eve, the fairies would have great power, and the May-flowers are a potent charm to prevent them entering the house. “Besides,” she said, “whoever comes across the threshold, particularly that of the kitchen, must step on the flowers, and bring good luck and plenty of butter into the house.”

One should always try to be the first to draw water at a well or spring on May morning. It brings good luck to the house, and plenty of butter all year.

No one (who keeps cows) likes to be the first in the neighbourhood to light his fire on May morning, as the witches (not the fairies) take the first smoke that appears to work spells where-with to take the butter off the milk for the whole year.

It is very unlucky to take fire out of a house on May morning. If a passer-by wants a light for his pipe, he must not carry away the sod of turf. If he does, he must bring back another to replace it.’

The Folklore Journal.