May Day is an ancient celebration of Spring! It is a tradition that is celebrated in many cultures in many different ways.
Let’s take a look at a few of them.
In the United States, it isn’t so widely celebrated, but in Europe, for centuries , May Day includes dances, singing, cakes and celebratory parties.
The earliest occurrence found of May Day come form the Roman festival honoring the goddess of flowers, Flora, the festival being called Floralia.
Most people have heard of or seen a Maypole in their lives.
This comes from old and ancient pagan traditions, which is one of the reasons it isn’t so widely celebrated here in the States. When this land was being settled by the Europeans, namely the Puritans, they abolished May Day and stamped out all celebration of it.
A cute May Day tradition, which you can adopt even today, is the giving of flowers to neighbors and friends! They are often left hanging in a little cone or basket on the doors of your loved ones with well wishes for a happy spring!
May Day has probably the most interested history in Germany. In rural regions, May Day celebrations happen the night before, on April 30th. And their is a saying in these parts called, “Tanz in den Man” (Dance into May). Along with dancing, many people light bonfires to keep the “witches” away as it is called Walpurgisnacht (or Walpurgis Night or Hexennacht - Witches Night). Sounds almost like halloween instead of the beginning of Spring!
In most modern times, May Day is considered a workers holiday as it was chosen for the International Workers Day and it also commemorates the Haymaret affair in Chicago, a story for another time.
But, no matter how you celebrate, happy Spring and we hope that the weather is a little warmers than it is here in Chicago!
(Images via Google images)