Happy May Day!

by PotionsMaster@evpl on Friday, May 1 2009, 8:59am. Viewed 815 times.

Wilted Flower Today is May 1st, or 'May Day' for those who enjoy whimiscal pieces of not well known history and holidays.  When people think of May Day, no doubt will someone think of the traditional May Pole with children running around it with ribbons and flowers, usually wrapping the May Pole with the ribbons or garlands of flowers.  This frivolous attitude that embodies the coming of summer was unfortunately frowned upon by the Puritans, which is why Americans don't celebrate it as much as Great Britian does. 

So give your sweetie a nice flower or tie a ribbon around a tree in honor of May and summer months with sunshine.  Even though it isn't a major card-company holiday, it still is an excuse to throw a barbeque for all your family and friends and be happy.

For those who want to know more about how the holiday came to be, click here for a pleasantly brief (yet informative) explanation. Wilted Flower


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Bufkinite@evpl wrote
on Saturday, May 2 2009, 3:28pm

May Day as a celebration has both pagan roots and more recent labor movement connections.  

The pagan form of the holiday is still celebrated throughout the Celtic and Gaelic world as Beltane, Beltane is a "cross quarter" day, falling half way between the vernal equinox and the summer solstice, in the same way that Samhain (known to the Christian world as All Saints Day) on November 1st falls midway between the autumnal equinox and the winter solstice.  Beltane celebrated the return of fecundity and growth to Mother Earth, was celebrated with dances and other revelry around the May Tree, or May Pole, which was usually bedecked with spring flowers, as were those frolicking around it.  Our May Day tradition of leaving May baskets full of flowers on the doorsteps of friends and neighbors derives from this pagan tradition. More information - much more - can be found in Sir James George Frazier's "Golden Bough" (see esp. Chapter 10, "Relics of Tree Worship in Modern Europe").

May Day's connection to the labor movement dates from the October 1884 convention of the Federation of Organized Trades and Labor Unions, where it was unanimously approved that May 1, 1886 would mark the beginning of the 8-hour work day. At the time, there was no limit short of utter exhaustion on what employers could require of employees, and so strikes in support of the 8-hour day were planned leading up to the first May Day holiday in 1886.  It's estimated that anywhere from 300,000 to a half million American workers went on strike on that first May Day, and blood was spilled as a consequence, including the Haymarket Massacre in Chicago, which took place on May 4th, as the strike continued.  May first is celebrated in Europe to this day as International Workers' Day.

on Monday, May 11 2009, 5:18pm

In Hawaii, May Day is also known as Lei Day, and is set aside as a day to celebrate island culture in general and native Hawaiian culture in particular. May Day was invented by a poet and a local newspaper columnist in the 1920s, but since then it has been adopted by state and local government as well as by the residents, who now affectionately call it Lei Day.

The first Lei Day was celebrated in 1927 in Honolulu, and Leonard "Red" and Ruth Hawk composed "May Day is Lei Day in Hawaii," the traditional holiday song.