When is May Day? Always May 1st!
"May Day occurs on May 1 and refers to any of several public holidays. In many countries, May Day is synonymous with International Workers' Day, or Labour Day, which celebrates the social and economic achievements of the labour movement."
Traditional May Day celebrations:
"As a day of celebration the holiday has ancient origins, and it can relate to many customs that have survived into modern times. Many of these customs are due to May Day being a cross-quarter day, meaning that (in the Northern Hemisphere where it is almost exclusively celebrated) it falls approximately halfway between the spring equinox and summer solstice."
"May Day marks the end of the half of the year in the Northern hemisphere, and it has traditionally been an occasion for popular and often raucous celebrations, regardless of the locally prevalent political or religious establishment."
"As Europe became Christianized the pagan holidays lost their religious character and either changed into popular secular celebrations, as with May Day, or were replaced by new Christian holidays as with Christmas, Easter, and All Saint's Day. In the start of the twenty-first century, many neopagans began reconstructing the old traditions and celebrating May Day as a pagan religious festival again."
"The earliest May Day celebrations appeared in pre-Christian Europe, with the festival of Flora the Roman Goddess of flowers, the Walpurgis Night celebrations of the Germanic countries. It is also associated with the Gaelic Beltane. Many pre-Christian indigenous celebrations were eventually banned or Christianized during the process of Christianization in Europe. As a result, a more secular version of the holiday continued to be observed in the schools and churches of Europe well into the 20th century. In this form, May Day may be best known for its tradition of dancing the Maypole and crowning of the Queen of the May. Today various Neopagan groups celebrate reconstructed (to varying degrees) versions of these customs on 1 May."
"The day was a traditional summer holiday in many pre-Christian European pagan cultures. While February 1 was the first day of Spring, May 1 was the first day of summer; hence, the summer solstice on June 25 (now June 21) was Midsummer. In the Roman Catholic tradition, May is observed as Mary's month, and in these circles May Day is usually a celebration of the Blessed Virgin Mary. In this connection, in works of art, school skits, and so forth, Mary's head will often be adorned with flowers. Fading in popularity since the late 20th century is the giving of "May baskets," small baskets of sweets and/or flowers, usually left anonymously on neighbours' doorsteps."
How is this holiday celebrated?
- "May Day was also celebrated by some early European settlers of the American continent. In some parts of the United States, May Baskets are made. These baskets are small and usually filled with flowers or treats and left at someone's doorstep. The basket giver would ring the bell and run away. The person receiving the basket would try to catch the fleeing giver. If they caught the person, a kiss was to be exchanged."
- The most significant of the traditions is the Maypole, around which traditional dancers circle with ribbons.
- Traditional bonfires are held on the night before May Day-
- "In the Rhineland, a region in the western part of Germany, May 1 is also celebrated by the delivery of a tree covered in streamers to the house of a girl the night before. The tree is typically from a love interest, though a tree wrapped only in white streamers is a sign of dislike."
- "On May 1st, 1561, French King Charles IX of France received a lily of the valley as a lucky charm. He decided to offer a lily of the valley each year to the ladies of the court. At the beginning of the 20th century, it became custom on the 1st of May, to give a sprig of lily of the valley, a symbol of springtime."
- "The May Queen is a girl (usually a teenage girl from a specific school year) who is selected to ride or walk at the front of a parade for May Day celebrations. She wears a white gown to symbolise purity and usually a tiara or crown. Her duty is to begin the May Day celebrations. She is generally crowned by flowers and makes a speech before the dancing begins. Certain age groups dance round a Maypole celebrating youth and the spring time."
A look into National Holidays
July 20 -Moon Day (Lunar Landing in 1969)
Weather Person's Day
Over The Rainbow Day - May 15
National Go Fly a Kite Day - 24
Air Day--November 11
"The maypole is a tall wooden pole (traditionally of maple (Acer), hawthorn or birch) erected to celebrate May Day or Midsummer. It may be decorated with several long coloured ribbons suspended from the top, festooned with flowers, draped in greenery, hung with large circular wreaths, or adorned with other symbols or decorations, depending on local and regional variances."-