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May Day! May Day!

May Day is a public holiday usually celebrated on May 1. It is an ancient northern hemisphere spring festival and a traditional spring holiday in many cultures. Dances, singing, and cake are usually part of the festivities. In the late 19th century, May Day was chosen as the date for International Workers’ Day by the Socialists and Communists of the Second International to commemorate the Haymarket affair in Chicago. International Workers’ Day may also be referred to as “May Day”, but it is a different celebration from the traditional May Day.

The earliest May Day celebrations appeared with the Floralia, festival of Flora, the Roman goddess of flowers, held on April 27 during the Roman Republic era, and with the Walpurgis Night celebrations of the Germanic countries. It is also associated with the Gaelic Beltane, most commonly held on April 30. The day was a traditional summer holiday in many 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.

As Europe became Christianised, the pagan holidays lost their religious character and May Day changed into a popular secular celebration. A significant celebration of May Day occurs in Germany where it is one of several days on which St. Walburga, credited with bringing Christianity to Germany, is celebrated. The secular versions of May Day, observed in Europe and North America, may be best known for their traditions of dancing around the maypole and crowning the Queen of May. Fading in popularity since the late 20th century is the giving of “May baskets,” small baskets of sweets or flowers, usually left anonymously on neighbours’ doorsteps.

Since the 18th century, many Roman Catholics have observed May – and May Day – with various May devotions to the Blessed Virgin Mary In works of art, school skits, and so forth, Mary’s head will often be adorned with flowers in a May crowning. May 1 is also one of two feast days of the Catholic patron saint of workers St Joseph the Worker, a carpenter, husband to Mother Mary, and surrogate father of Jesus. Replacing another feast to St. Joseph, this date was chosen by Pope Pius XII in 1955 as a counterpoint to the communist International Workers Day celebrations on May Day.

In the late 20th century, many neopagans began reconstructing traditions and celebrating May Day as a pagan religious festival.

Comments


Comment from AliceH
Time: May 1, 2018, 3:21 pm

Oh my I had completely forgotten about May baskets! I made those every year from age 7-14 or thereabouts. I am not a crafty type, but I could weave a square basket from strips of construction paper, and tape on a handle. Most years I’d do just one for my mom, but a few times I made extra and left them at the neighbors doors. I think the quantity was determined by Wisconsin weather, meaning the last of the snow probably just melted the prior week, and sufficient amount of living things to put in the basket were always very hard to find this early in spring.

Thanks for triggering a good memory. Happy birthday week!

 


Comment from Can’t Hark My Cry
Time: May 1, 2018, 4:12 pm

In the US May 1 is Law Day–officially recognized but not a public holiday. It was designated as such by President Eisenhower in 1958. I find the whole thing fairly irritating, but our county bar association embraces it with fervor.

 


Comment from DurnedYankee
Time: May 1, 2018, 6:02 pm

And because you cleverly used the term as the title for the post, but didn’t ‘splain –

https://wonderopolis.org/wonder/what-does-mayday-mean

“Mayday got its start as an international distress call in 1923. It was made official in 1948. It was the idea of Frederick Mockford, who was a senior radio officer at Croydon Airport in London. He came up with the idea for “mayday” because it sounded like the French word m’aider, which means “help me.” ”

See if you can find a day to use for “Pan-Pan” 🙂

 


Comment from Ric Fan
Time: May 1, 2018, 9:25 pm

So, is May 3 the day of the big pikey procession and funeral? Or, is Henry Vincent already in the ground?

 


Comment from Wolfus Aurelius
Time: May 2, 2018, 1:36 pm

Comment from DurnedYankee
Time: May 1, 2018, 6:02 pm
. . .
“Mayday got its start as an international distress call in 1923. It was made official in 1948. It was the idea of Frederick Mockford, who was a senior radio officer at Croydon Airport in London. He came up with the idea for “mayday” because it sounded like the French word m’aider, which means “help me.” ”

*
*
I’ve always seen it written as m’aidez, which — though I know very little French — I believe to be the imperative or “command” form. In other words, “(You must) help me!!!” M’aider I think is the infinitive. Though, since they are (probably?) pronounced the same way, I guess it doesn’t matter, especially if your ship is sinking faster than the Titanic.

Oh, and I didn’t know about May 1 being celebrated as Day 1 of summer, and June 21 as “Midsummer.” That makes sense for Will’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream instead of the start of August.

 


Comment from BJM
Time: May 2, 2018, 2:27 pm

“If you but favor, our country pastime made is. We are a few of those collected here. That ruder tongues distinguish villager,. And to say verity, and not to fable,. We are a merry rout, or else a rable,. Or company, or by a figure, choris,. That ‘fore thy dignity will dance a morris.” – Two Noble Kinsmen

I’ve always associated Morris dancing with Midsummer, but hey, these folks are bringing. it.

And right on cue, the diversity, anti-everything-traditionally-English scolds/whiners are trying to ban black face Morris dancing.

 


Comment from DurnedYankee
Time: May 2, 2018, 3:09 pm

“And right on cue, the diversity, anti-everything-traditionally-English scolds/whiners are trying to ban black face Morris dancing.”

The ‘we’re in trouble but it’s not life threatening’ signal ‘Pan-Pan’ will hereafter be replaced with the more socially conscious ‘Ban-Ban’.

Executive musing that becomes law #332451

 

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