View Full Version : Tuesday Trivia: May Day

Star lover
May 1st, 2018, 07:27 AM
May Day is a festival that celebrates the arrival of Spring. Always celebrated on......you guessed it......May 1.

This day is celebrated throughout the world. In many countries it is a major holiday such as the United Kingdom, India, Romania, Sweden, and Norway. In many countries the day is celebrated as Labor Day.

Celebrations differ around the world. There are many traditions for day. Here are a few:

England - May Day has a long history and tradition in England. The day is celebrated with music and dancing. Perhaps the most famous part of the celebration is the Maypole. Children dance around the Maypole holding onto colorful ribbons. Many people use flowers and leaves to make hoops and hair garlands as well. A lot of towns also crown a May Queen on this day.

Walpurgis Night - Some countries celebrate the night before May Day called Walpurgis Night. These countries include Germany, Sweden, Finland, and the Czech Republic. The celebration is named after English missionary Saint Walpurga. People celebrate with large bonfires and dancing.

Scotland and Ireland - Long ago in the Middle Ages the Gaelic people of Scotland and Ireland celebrated the festival of Beltane. Beltane means "Day of Fire". They had large bonfires and dancing at night to celebrate. Some people are starting to celebrate Beltane again.

May Day has changed throughout history. In Greek and Roman times it was a day to celebrate spring and specifically the goddesses over spring. In early Gaelic times as well as in pre-Christian times in Scandinavia, May Day was also a day to celebrate the coming of Spring. When Christianity came to Europe and England, May Day became intertwined with Easter and other Christian celebrations.

In the 1900s May Day became a day to celebrate labor in many communist and socialist countries. They would celebrate the worker as well as the armed forces on this day. Later the day would become a Labor Day in many countries throughout the world.

Fun Facts About May Day:
In Ancient Greece they celebrated the Festival of Chloris. She was the goddess of flowers and spring. The Ancient Romans had a similar festival in honor of the goddess Flora.

Morris Dancers in England wear hats decorated with flowers, suspenders, and ankle bells. They stomp their feet, wave handkerchiefs, and bang sticks together when they dance.

One traditional May Day dance in England is called the Cumberland Square.

A Maypole stands all year long in Inkwell, England. It has been there since 1894.


Maypoles were sometimes made from old ship's masts.


The month May was named for Maia, the Greek goddess of fertility.

May was once considered a bad luck month to get married. There is a poem that says "Marry in May and you'll rue the day".

On May 1, 1931, the Empire State Building was officially opened.


On May 1, 1707: The Kingdom of Great Britain was established.

Since 1928, May Day in Hawaii has been known as Lei Day, a spring celebration that embraces Hawaiian culture and in particular, the lei. The holiday song, "May Day is Lei Day in Hawai'i," was originally a fox trot, but was later rearranged as a Hawaiian hula.

Tradition dictates that washing one's face in the dew from May Day morning beautifies the skin.

The giving of May Baskets has, sadly, faded since the late 20th century. Small baskets of sweets and flowers would be left anonymously on doorsteps to the delight of neighbors. (A vote for a revival.)

........an additional thought.....

Is this related to the "Mayday! Mayday!" distress call?

It's actually not at all! "Mayday" the distress call comes from the French term m'aidez, which means "help me."
Nothing wrong with a little French lesson to go along with the holiday's history!

May 1st, 2018, 07:53 AM
I do miss the fun of making Maybaskets.

May 1st, 2018, 11:15 AM
My high school celebrated May Day in park near the school with a Maypoke dance. Our church held a May Day march to "Drive the Communist away".

May 1st, 2018, 11:44 AM
When I was in elem. school, we used to make paper May baskets for our moms. I picked those lovely yellow flowers in people's yards on the way home -- dandelions! It's the thought that counts.

May 1st, 2018, 12:32 PM
When I was in elem. school, we used to make paper May baskets for our moms. I picked those lovely yellow flowers in people's yards on the way home -- dandelions! It's the thought that counts.

Same here, but I could usually find violets and other wildflowers in the woods.