The Secret Life of Bees

Why are they draping the hives? Ch 10

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Zach and August drape the hives as a sign of mourning May’s death. August explains that this is a beekeeping tradition. August tells Lily the story of Aristaeus, which is considered to be the second part of the beekeeping initiation. Aristaeus was the first beekeeper, and all of his bees died, but they were reborn out of a sacrificed bull. After this miracle, people believed that bees had power over death. The presence of bees symbolizes the rebirth of a dead person in the next world. August confesses that draping the hives is not for May but for the mourners. She says that the drapes remind them that life gives way to death and death gives way to life.