The month of May announces the onset of summer in the northern hemisphere. Since it marks the beginning of the farming season in this region it is celebrated with unparallel grandeur. May Day celebration on 1stMay is an ancient spring time event observed to welcome spring time.
It is a popular celebration in many cultures and normally a public holiday in the countries where it is celebrated.
Origination of the May Day Celebration
May Day has its origin in the early Celtic festivals and the Germanic festival of Walpurgis Night. It also has its roots attached to the pagan and neopagan festivals of Europe like Samhain. In paganism it is also celebrated as cross-quarter day as the day falls exactly half a year from 1stNovember.
Arrival of May means the end of the harsh winter and beginning of the welcoming summer. The ancient Romans used to celebrate the day with the festival of Flora, who was the Roman Goddess of flower. In the Pagan culture, February 1 was usually celebrated as the beginning of spring and May was the beginning of summer and hence, was the time for the traditional summer holiday. May Day was a time of festivity and people used to celebrate by dancing and singing around the maypole and crowing the Queen of the May.
When Christianity became the primary religion of Europe many of these pagan festivals were abandoned or were replaced by Christian holidays like Christmas, Easter, All Saint’s Day, Lent, Ash Wednesday etc. It wasn’t since twentieth century that many neopagan groups started the movement to recreate and reconstruct their old traditions. They took the initiatives to revive and popularize the May Day celebration.
In the Roman Catholic religion the month is dedicated to Mary and is celebrated as Mary’s month. Often during this celebration the head of the Blessed Virgin Mary is decorated with headgears made with flowers called the May crown.
May Day is a popular event in the countries like:
May Day: International Workers’ Day
In many parts of the world 1stMay is celebrated as the International Workers’ Day to recognize the success of international labor movements and left-wing movements.
In the history of trade union movements 1stMay holds great importance as it is on this day the eight hour workday rights of the labors was established. As a result, it is recognized worldwide as a day that freed the labor class from the oppression of the privileged section of the society. May Day remains a public holiday in more than eighty countries and workers and trade unions celebrate the day demonstrating and organizing parades for labor rights.
Send May Day Cards to your friends and relatives –