What is May Day?
The answer to that question is ... a LOT of things. Depending on which culture, community or country you're in, May Day has vastly different traditions, from celebrating the end of Winter to protesting labor violations.
- Origins: Ancient pre-Christian Spring Festival celebrating the Roman goddess Flora
- International Workers' Day: Celebration of Labor and Left-Wing Movements; National Labor holiday in 80+ country
- Protests: In 1886, U.S. unions went on strike over labor conditions. This has evolved into a day to protest and rally. In most recent years, people protest globalization and immigration reform.
- In Hawaii: Lei Day is for celebrating Hawaiian culture and giving out flower Leis.
- In Germany: Walpurgisnacht is celebrated April 30 with bonfires, maypoles ... and all-night partying by the young.
- In Britain: Spring holiday where a "May Queen" is crowned and girls play around a maypole with ribbons.
- In France: In 1561, King Charles gave good-luck lilies to ladies of court; Today, lilies are sold tax-free and given to French women.
And, one thing I learned is that the S.O.S. call, mayday, comes from the French word m'aider, meaning "come help me," and has nothing to do with May 1.
What do you think? How to you celebrate May Day? Do you at all?