Has the May Day celebration become extinct? May 1st is designated as May Day. I do not know if kids still celebrate May Day by wrapping ribbons around the May pole like the one we used to do when I was growing up, but the nostalgia of the event was unforgettable. It also gave us the opportunity to get outside and enjoy the weather.
The original purpose of May Day, the Maypole and rituals surrounding it was to celebrate the fertility of the new season’s crops. Trees are linked to a part of the celebration and have always been symbolic of the great energy and fertility of nature. Some people took the word “fertility” literally and the holiday became a time of reckless sexual behavior. Over time, the emphasis on agriculture in which May Day was initially observed and celebrated, began to diminish rapidly.
In many cultures, May Day is remembered differently and for a variety of reasons. In some countries, it is a national holiday, while others commemorate the day as a celebration of spring, a saint’s feast day, a day for organized labor or used for political protests.
The tradition of celebrating May Day entailed dancing and singing around a maypole that was tied with colorful ribbons or streamers. We celebrated May Day by moving around the pole, holding our end of the colorful streamer and singing. The top of the Maypole was adorned with flowers or some type of decoration indicative of the celebration. Typically a May Queen is chosen and sometimes a May King. Although our reason for celebrating May Day escapes me right now, we were just ecstatic about having a reason to get outside and celebrate the essence of spring.
Happy May Day!