May 1st falls halfway between the Spring Equinox and the Summer Solstice. In ancient Europe, May 1 was the day of the Beltane Festival, which honored fertility in all living things, including crops and people! We're celebrating too, with this festive May Tree quilt.
May Tree by Katalin Horvath, London, United Kingdom, 2013 Houston International Quilt Festival
Katalin writes, "In [the country of] Hungary, on the last day of April and first day of May, young men place a May Tree in front of the house of the girl they love. The decorate it with flowers and gifts and guard it all night, so that rivals will not take it. This...is the celebration of spring and the rebirth of nature, a tradition honored in Hungary for hundreds of years and still alive."
Close up, May Tree by Katalin Horvath
Katalin continues, "Young people get up early and go out to sing and dance around the May Tree. I designed a tree like that, with traditional folk flowers." Katalin's work is machine and hand-appliqued, embroidered, and free motion quilted.
We love the beautiful symmetry of this quilt, the circular motifs which remind us of the cycles of nature, and the balanced distribution of flowers and village buildings at the corners. Notice how the green of the rolling hills makes a lovely contrast with the bright red of the dancers' costumes. Katalin's precise, detailed applique work is beautifully done in this joyous tribute to being outdoors in the fields, as summer approaches the Northern Hemisphere.
Image credits: Photos were taken by Quilt Inspiration at the 2013 Houston IQF.