Though the big celebrations of Bealtaine/ May day had been left behind long ago in the ancestral homelands, folklorist Vance Randolph documented many folk customs that he witnessed in the Ozarks persisting well up into the twentieth century.
~For many families, the first of May was the first day of the year that children were allowed to go outside barefoot.
~On this day, winter clothes were packed away with sassafras leaves.
~Cucumber and watermelons planted before sunrise on May first would not be bothered by insects.
~May first was considered the best day of the year for a girl to pick a husband. However, it was considered unlucky to marry in May.
~If you throw an eggshell into a fire on May first and you see a drop of blood on it, you will not live to see another May day.
May Day Future Mate Divinations
~Look into a spring before breakfast to see images of your future husband and children.
~Go to a well at noon and reflect light down into the darkness with a mirror to see the face of your future spouse.
~Wet a handkerchief on the eve of May and hang it in a cornfield. The next day look for initials in the wrinkles.
~Hold a bottle of water up to the light at sunrise to see an outline of your future husband.
~Place a horseshoe over your door before dawn on May first and the next person to pass through the door will look like your future husband.
~A widow may leave her door open at daybreak on the first of May and the first creature to enter her house will have the hair color of her future husband.
~The first bird’s nest a girl finds on May day will have as many eggs in it as she will have children.