“May Day” – hardly a person can be found who has not heard of May Day. When it is May Day, it is celebrated sometime between 1st May to 31st May. Though, there are a few more to discover when you are really eager to know unknown facts about May Day.
“May Day” is a holiday, and it is celebrated for different reasons in different parts of the globe. There is no exact reason to specify why May Day is celebrated, but lots more are here to discover. Before getting started we need to know when May Day is actually celebrated.
1st May is known as May Day.
Why is May Day celebrated Across the Globe?
From time-honored customs to workers’ day celebrations, May Day signifies many themes, rustic culture, and historical incidents. Let us not waste time and dig into the May Day facts one by one,
Beltane or The Fire of Bel
The festival is deep-rooted back into the Dark Ages. It was celebrated with devotion and rituals in Ireland and Scotland as Beltane and also known as a Celtic spring festival. The day was the celebration to welcome a new season every year by ancient people.
1st day of May was considered as the beginning of the summer season.
People celebrated the day with bonfires. They lit up bonfires and pray to protect harvests as well as cattle from an evil eye. Along with bonfire, they arranged a large feast to celebrate the first day of summer. The day is celebrated with color, devotion, and enthusiasm until today in the twenty-first century.
Walpurgis Night Celebration
May Day is celebrated in Germany, Finland, and Sweden in a different style. It is celebrated as Walpurgis Night with Saint. A feast is arranged grandly, and all the young women take part in the feast and they dance and being kissed. It is a night when the witches wait for the arrival of spring.
Roman Floral Celebration
Romans celebrate the day as Flora festival. Flora signifies the deity of flowers, and the festival is celebrated to welcome “The Summer” at the end of April in every year.
Back in early centuries, the May Day was celebrated as Maypole. Maypole is synonymous of the May Day. According to Pagan customary, young trees were cut down on this occasion and jammed in the ground as the symbol of summer surfacing. Afterward, men and women danced together to surround the maypole. All men and women dressed colorfully with a flower made ornaments. Especially, men danced wearing bright and colorful dresses. Though, the dress-code varied country to country. During the dance, a person appeared as “May Queen” or a “Green Man” (Jack in the Green) and it was the personification or manifestation of spring. The Green Man or Jack was considered as the relic form of trees that were worshipped by ancestors in ancient time.
3-Day Bank Holiday
In a specific part of the globe (in Britain), May Day is celebrated with three days consecutive bank holiday.
International Workers’ Day
One thing to remember that May Day (1st Day of May) is not all about fun, happiness, and dancing around with colorful ribbons. The day signifies an event of world history the International Workers’ Day. It is also known as International Labour Day. In Russia, Cuba, North Korea, and the Republic of China the day is celebrated as the same, and it is an official national holiday.
A Few Facts Related to International Workers’ Day:
The day has been celebrated since 1880 and the day has an equal value to America’s Labor Day.
On 1st of May in 1886, billions of workers took part in the movement to protest against 10 to 16 hours work in a day (as said by Industrial Workers of the World) and to demand for 8 hours work in a day in the US.
The protest went on for several days in Chicago. Though, it was ended due to the struggle between police and workers at McCormick Reaper Work plant. A large number of strikers succumbed to death.
The protest at McCormick Reaper Work in Chicago on 3rd May 1886 had begun the workers’ revolution all over the world.
The movement was started with the demand of eight hours work in a day, eight hours for the leisure, and last eight hours to have rest. Thus, movement is also known as “8-hour day movement”.
Till today, the day is celebrated as International Workers’ Day and announced as the official holiday in various courtiers including India.
Celebration of May Day in India
In India, 1st May is celebrated as the Workers’ day since 1923. The day was celebrated under the organization of Labour Kisan Party of Hindustan in Madras, became Chennai.
The Red Flag was started to employ since this time in India and it was the very first time in Indian history.
Apart from Labour Day or Workers’ day, the day is manifested as ‘Maharashtra Day’ and ‘Gujarat Day’ since the inception of two new western states (former these two states were known as Bombay together) based on the linguistic line.
Important Message: Please do not allow children who are below 14 to work as it is against the law in India, and it is totally prohibited under the Child Labour Act of 1986. The act ensures the protection of children labor from maltreatment and abasement. Even, it provides a better quality of labor for the betterment of industries in India.
Head off to Wired Facts of May Day
When Oliver Cromwell and his team of Puritans put a bar to the celebration of Maypole on May Day in 1660, and they passed charters against the celebration. To them the celebration was nothing but a “heathenish vanity,” and it was all about superstition. Though, Charles II – ‘The Merry Monarch’ brought back the maypole tradition in action in erecting the forty meters high maypole in the London\s Strand. The maypole signified the re-embodiment of happiness and fun among villager, and it remained the same for 50-year.
Maypole is celebrated till today in Dunchurch, Warwickshire, and Barwick. Maypole in Barwick, Yorkshire is renowned as the giant maypole standing up to 30 meters in height in England.
A carol/Latin Hymn is sung in the morning of May Day from the Magdalen College tower in Oxford. The event goes on following the ringing bells and indicates the beginning of Morris dancing in the streets in Oxford.
The day is celebrated unconventionally at St Andrews. Students come without clothes and rush into the sea during the sunrise moment to celebrate the new season on 1st.
On a Final Note…………………….
May Day is not all about celebrating pagan carnivals. It is a day that has a connection from Maypole dancing to Morris Dancing, and protesting against 10 to 16-hour labor to spring coming celebration.
The day has many colors to celebrate and many reasons to reminiscent. What do you like to celebrate is all up to you. But, celebrating May Day on 1st May itself signifies something new in Mother Nature and human nature.