May Day

Happy May Day!

I was curious about just what May Day is,  because these days,  it seems to pass by without any ceremony.  The only reason I even paid attention is because I had to write “May” instead of “April” on my checks!

According to infoplease.com:

“May 1st,  often called May Day,  just might have more holidays  than any other day of the year.  It’s a celebration of Spring. It’s a day of  political protests.  It’s a neopagan festival,  a saint’s feast day,  and a day for  organized labor.  In many countries,  it is a national holiday.”

The day has different meanings in many different European countries.  Most of us have probably heard of the maypole.  That idea came from England.

But in the U.S. and some other countries,  May Day is associated with protests by workers about poor conditions in factories.  To quote infoplease.com again:

“In many countries,  May Day is also Labor Day.  This originates with the United  States labor movement in the late 19th Century.  On May 1,  1886, unions across  the country went on strike,  demanding that the standard workday be shortened to  eight hours.  The organizers of these strikes included socialists, anarchists,  and others in organized labor movements.  Rioting in Chicago’s Haymarket Square on  May 4th including a bomb thrown by an anarchist led to the deaths of a dozen  people (including several police officers) and the injury of over 100 more.

The protests were not immediately successful,  but they proved effective down  the line,  as eight-hour work days eventually did become the norm.  Labor leaders,   socialists,  and anarchists around the world took the American strikes and their  fallout as a rallying point,  choosing May Day as a day for demonstrations,   parades, and speeches.  It was a major state holiday in the Soviet Union and  other communist countries.

Labor Day is still celebrated on May 1 in countries around the world,  and it  is still often a day for protests and rallies.  In recent years,  these have often  been targeted against globalization.”

So now that you know more about the history of May 1st,  I hope you are enjoying the day.  Even though it’s raining around here,  it’s still a good day to notice all of the green leaves that are popping out on trees everywhere,  and all of the tulips and flowering trees that are in bloom.

If you do celebrate May 1st in some way,  I’d love to hear about it.

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