Although May 1st may pass without notice by many of us in the US—probably because we don’t have the day off—the day has a long history of celebrating Spring, and in some places, Summer. The May Day holiday goes by many names with varying methods of celebration around the world. Here is a brief list of a few of them.
- Walpurgis Night: A celebration of Spring of Germanic origin, which includes music and bonfires on May Day eve.
- Beltane: The Celtic festival of fire and fertility, also beginning on May Day eve.
- The Catholic Feast of St. Joseph the Worker.
- May Day: Traditional European folk festivals celebrated with the crowning of the May Queen and dancing around the Maypole.
- International Workers’ Day: A celebration of the labor movement through parades and organized demonstrations. (The Occupy Movement has several protests planned for today throughout the US. Europeans are protesting economic austerity measures.)
And because I love old photos, I perused the Library of Congress website to share a bit of history with you.
Here’s to a Happy May Day!