Thursday, 2 July 2015

May Bush

If you take a drive through the community of Logy Bay-Middle Cove-Outer Cove during the month of May, you are bound to see a few may bushes that are being displayed by locals. What is a may bush you ask? Well, it has its roots in Ireland, and is, as you may have guessed, predominately a Roman Catholic practice. People tie a fir or spruce tree onto their fences, or their decks - pretty much anywhere that is visible to passer-byers - for the month of May, and will sometimes leave them up until the end of June. People may decorate them in a variety of ways, using things like flowers and ribbons. 

There are several different reasons why people engage in this tradition. In Ireland, this practice was believed to ward off evil, and bring good luck to those who took part in the practice. It is also typically associated with The Virgin Mary; May being "Mary's Month" in the Catholic Faith. Lara Maynard writes:

"Newfoundlanders who erect may bushes nowadays usually cite the commemoration of "Mary's month" as the reason for doing so. Indeed, their may bushes are often predominantly or solely decorated in blue ribbons, blue being the colour often associated with Mary in iconography. Some people add red ribbons to their bushes in June in commemoration of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and do not take them down until the end of that month."

I am looking to collect narratives from residents of Logy Bay-Middle Cove-Outer Cove who still take part in the may bush tradition. Please contact Katie at lbmcocmuseum(at) or (709) 726-5272 if you have any information.

-Katie Harvey

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