Join us for our annual "Spring Cleaning and Celebration Event" the 1st Sunday of May in Bextar, Alabama at Rocky Grove Missionary Baptist Church and Cemetery.

Rocky Grove Missionary Baptist Church
(205) 921-5045
840 Sentry Rd

Hamilton, AL 35570

 

 

 

BRIEF HISTORY OF “FIRST SUNDAY in MAY” CELEBRATION

 

Back in the 1930’s and 1940’s there was a celebration called MAY DAY, at Ada Hanna School (in Bexar, AL).  The celebration consisted of games, performances, etcetera, which took place on the first of May.   On the first Saturday in May, the community would clean the cemeteries and decorate the graves with flowers and this activity was called “Decoration Day”.  In 1950 the three black churches in the area (Mt. Zion, C.M.E Church, Rocky Grove Missionary Baptist Church and Smith Temple Church of God in Christ) got together and designated the first Saturday in May to clean and decorate the Gann Cemetery and the Rocky Grove Cemetery. 

All persons that had family ties to these churches and the surrounding communities were asked to return to the area for the first weekend in May to perform these cleaning and decorating duties.  The community and church families would gather together on the first Sunday in May (at Rocky Grove Missionary Baptist Church) for a Memorial Service, were an offering was lifted for the day and all proceeds would benefit the Cemetery Association (which oversees the annual up keep of the cemeteries).

Today, the “First Sunday in May” (Decoration Day) is celebrated as a homecoming of family and community.