SINCE ANCIENT TIMES, May 1, or May Day, has been considered a holiday. Druids, who were priests in ancient Gaul and Britain, considered it the second most important holiday of the year. They believed the day divided the year in half.

As a New Year rite, the setting of a new fire was the custom on May 1, also known as Beltane, as it was thought to lend life to the new springtime sun. Couples walked through the smoke from the fires for good luck.

The Romans brought their own rites of spring for May Day celebrations when they came to occupy the British Isles. Romans primarily saw the holiday as a day of worship of Flora, a goddess of flowers.

A five-day festival the Romans called Floralia was combined with those of Beltane, and many of those customs are still celebrated in similar ways.

Today, May Day in the British Isles is regarded more as a day for children to enjoy rather than a day of celebration of springtime rites.

Many rites of spring we associate with May Day have survived today, but the first day of May is generally noted more for the anticipation of warm weather and play days in the sun.

Springtime flowers have traditionally represented May Day in the British Isles and America. You can use these instructions to make baskets filled with dried, silk or straw flowers to give as gifts to surprise friends and loved ones on May 1.

Supplies you will need

* Gold poster board

* Glue

* Paper doilies

* Scissors

* Ribbon

* Hole punch

* Ruler

* Silk or dried flowers

* Pencil

How to make it

Measure 12 inches out from a corner on two sides of a piece of poster board and mark with a pencil. Draw an arc connecting the two dots and cut out. Roll the straight sides together to form a cone, and tape or glue to hold. Glue paper doilies to the outside of the cone to decorate.

Punch holes in opposite sides near the top edge of the cone. Thread each end of a 12-inch ribbon through the holes and tie the ends into knots inside the cone to hold.

Place flowers inside the cone and place on a doorknob as a surprise for a special person.