I woke up this morning to get ready to go to work, and before heading out the door, I hop online and see all the stuff about May Day. Now, I remember being in elementary school and running around the pole with the ribbons on it and I was confused even then. So here’s a brief history for those like me who do remember anything about it.
May Day is based on the Celtic festival of Beltane. It also happens to be related to the Germanic festival of Walpurgis Night. (By the way, Walpurgis is now my new favorite word.) Both festivals happened in pre-Christian Europe with several countries having their own ways of celebrating. It started as the holiday to recognize Flora, the Roman goddess of flowers, and progressed before the conversion as a celebration of the new season of spring, particularly when it comes to new planting seasons, livestock, and so on.
As the Christian conversion moved through Europe, the festival fell by the wayside or was combined with other Christian holidays. However, there are still similar celebrations even today that continue to celebrate the old fashioned holiday by either dancing the maypole dance (referred to above) or by crowning the Queen of May. Different countries in Europe also had a variety of different ways of celebrating from parades and lots more.
So with that brief history, you now know why you danced around a pole when you were 10. And now you can celebrate that it’s summer. Which in Florida typically means it’s time for crazy hot mornings followed by storms raging through the state. Happy May Day!
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