May represents the beginning of spring. Spring brings happiness and marks a fresh start. In many countries, the first day of spring is even celebrated as a new year. In Hawaii, for example, May Day is Lei Day.
On the one hand, it marks joy, but on the other, some labor unions and organizations hold mass protests for working 8 hours in a day. Originally it was a political holiday known as the Day of International Solidarity, but after it became a holiday to relax and rejuvenate.
It is also a day which is dedicated to people with multiple personality disorders. As you can see May 1st means a lot to many people and it is an important holiday among all the holidays which serves another reason to be happy and having fun.
In this article, we will view May Day facts and learn about some traditions. This holiday has a different meaning in each continent, and we will try to bring to you what 1st of May means to different people.
Fact #1: Maypole Dance
The medieval tradition is the one which is probably best known to everybody. Maypole is a tall pole around which dancers perform a beautiful dance with ribbons. This is popular in Germanic countries plus United States and Canada. The pole is decorated with flowers and ribbons in an elegant manner while dancing. It’s a great day of singing and dancing in the traditional Maypole style where children get small pretzels.
Fact #2: Fertility
May Day has been celebrated by many cultures over many centuries. Gods of the forest, goddesses of passion and motherhood, and a number of agricultural deities are connected to this holiday. It is also the sabbat of fertility
Spring is known as the time when the fertility is high because of the favorable temperature and a feeling of celebration. Hence, fertility is also celebrated, and young couples are supposed to go for “roll in the hay.” Basically, it is a symbol of increased libido and high sexuality.
Fact #3: Fairies to Earth
There is very little documented evidence for this fact. Also, fairies are limited to fairy tales for most of us, but that is not the fact for the whole world. Many people believe that Fairies who did not follow Satan into Hell came to earth and helped them with their misery. May 1st was the day chosen for the fairies to come on earth and it was also their last chance.
Fact #4: Beltane
This festival is confined to Ireland, Scotland, and the Isle of Man. The actual name of Beltane is Gaelic May Day. In this countries, it marks the beginning of summer and the time when cattle are to be driven out to the summer pastures. Beltane is known for bonfires, and it is believed that the smoke and fire has a special power to protect cattle and the crop.
Fact #5: Beautiful Skin
This fact is not related to any festival, but it is related to May Day. It is believed by beauty specialists that if you wash your face with dew from 1st May, it enhances your skin. The dew apparently has some purifying characteristics and keeps spots and pimples away. Therefore, you just need to get up early and wash your face in the matutinal May Day dew; it will make your skin beautiful and your heart pure.
Fact #6: International Workers Day
It is another important thing to celebrate on May 1st. It is a public holiday in all countries on account of hard-work and protest by workers. Workers wanted 8-hour work in a day, therefore, a worldwide protest rose in which many people were injured and killed.
Today, in memory of Haymarket affair in Chicago, everyone enjoys weekends off and celebrates Labor Day every year. In fact, traditionally that's what May Day was supposed to celebrate. Labor Day was created to try and avoid public protests on May 1st so we'd forget.
Fact #7: Day of Multiple Personality Disorder
The day for celebrating different aspects of our own personality was May 5th. Since it is still the first week, therefore, it is still accounted for May Day. People with multiple personality disorder undergo social pressure because they are different from other people. Therefore, May 5th is a day for introspection and finding out what are the other traits you have in you and what makes people themselves.
Fact #8: Best Day
Italy has officially given May 1st the best day of the year and celebrates it accordingly. Also, it is the happiest day of the year for all Italians. They also do the dance around Maypole. Italy practically celebrates everything from labor day to Maypole dance and, therefore, remain joyful.
Fact #9: Lei Day
Lei day started from 1929 and continued till date. It is Hawaiian culture that starts on May 1st and continues throughout the day. Each island has a different type of celebration, but the aim is the same - to celebrate the onset of spring. People immerse themselves in the centuries-old tradition of presenting flower necklaces to say “Aloha” at the Lei Day celebration. Here, May Day is Lei Day where every person can enjoy lei-making contests, hula dancing, and Hawaiian music.
Fact #10: Spring of Lily of Mary
This tradition takes place in France. Here, it is a must to gift lily flower with sweet fragrance on May 1st. This custom started from the time of King Charles IX. Lily flower was once considered a lucky charm for King Charles IX.
It is quite interesting that different countries have different customs and rituals on the same day. This coming May, make sure you spend your holidays wisely:
- Think about the good things within you,
- Follow old traditions,
- Dance around Maypole,
- Wash your face with morning dew,
- And simply enjoy your holiday!
It is possible that we have missed some traditions but the ones mentioned are best known. And remember, the distress call “Mayday” when an airplane is crashing has nothing to do with this day. Its origin is from French “Venez m'aider” which means “come and help me”!