As months go, May is one of the better ones in the UK. We have three bank holidays in May this year. As usual we get a Monday off work on the 29th – a Spring Bank Holiday, whatever that’s about - late May is very nearly summer!!
This year we also get Monday 8th off work - to celebrate the coronation of our new King - and we’ve just had the 1st May off to celebrate May Day.
I’ve never stopped to think what May Day is about. With the multinational, transglobal success of Citizens of Boomtown, I’ve also found myself wondering how May Day is celebrated by citizens across the globe?
I’d always assumed that May Day was an ancient festival linked to the beginning of summer. It turns out that it’s timing on the 1st May lies roughly between the spring equinox and summer solstice. What I didn’t know was that back in 1889, May 1st was also selected to mark International Workers' Day or "Labour Day". Except for sharing the same date, Labour Day and the celebrations to mark the start of summer are apparently, totally unrelated.
According to Wikipedia, the earliest known May Day celebrations are Roman and linked Flora, the goddess of flowers, with Dionysus and Aphrodite. Since the 18th century, the Roman Catholic church has associated May Day with celebrations to both of Jesus’ parents, Mary and Joseph. Towards the end of the twentieth century, some older pagan festivals were combined with more recent May Day traditions, giving the celebrations a pagan aspect to add to their left-wing Labour Day connotations.
Looks like everyone has wanted a piece of the action at some point!
What does May Day mean for you? Just a very welcome long weekend or something a bit more special???