May Day

History behind May Day and how it is observed

  Today, May 1st, 2017 is May Day. What is may Day you might ask? Well, depending on where you are, it’s either a seasonal celebration or a day to celebrate workers’ rights.

  May Day was originally an ancient pagan holiday that celebrates the start of summer. In Gaelic traditions, it’s known as Beltaine. As years when on, different groups adapted to the celebrations bringing it into their own specific cultures and beliefs. Americans often celebrate in a more non religious manner like flower crowns. One ritual that is involved in the celebration was harvesting flowers and giving them to neighbors and strangers in cone shaped baskets. These “May Baskets” are commonly known as “May Day Baskets”. Current tradition is observed by hanging a cone shaped basket full or flowers or other gifts on the outside of door knobs,, then knocking or ringing the doorbell and running away.  As for the Southern Hemisphere, it is the seasonal celebration in the transition into winter.

  Along with being a celebration of the seasons, May Day is a labor holiday in many parts of the world. It is shared as a date with International Workers’ Day since the 1880s. During this time, labor movements around the world fought for fair work accommodations. This specific date was chosen because it aligned with the anniversary of the Haymarket affair in Chicago, where police killed four people at a peaceful protest.

  So take today and participate in the May Day tradition of hanging baskets of flowers on doors.

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