Woo hoo, it’s May Day! Everybody celebrate! It’s time to … to … to do what, exactly? Wait … does anybody even know what May Day <em>is</em>?
Of course, lots of people celebrate May Day – it’s just that most of them happen to live in Europe, seeing as how many U.S. celebrations have dwindled or have been co-opted by activists. <em>Lame</em>.
The modern May Day celebration, like many mainstream holidays, is a hearkening back to the pagan traditions of old. The themes are similar to other spring celebrations (fertility, new life, rebirth and so on), but observances vary among different cultures and religious groups.
The most recognized symbol of the May Day celebration may be the <em>maypole</em>. Many cultures still erect maypoles for May Day celebrations and if you’ve ever been to a May Day fair – or any kind of spring folk festival – you’ve probably seen one. They’re very tall and often wrapped with flowers and bows, and if it’s being used in a maypole dance it will feature streamers that hang from its pinnacle that are twirled by those who dance around it.
Maypole dances are a prominent feature of today’s May Day celebrations in both the U.S. and in Europe. The Puritans were decidedly <em>not down</em> with these dances and so were nipped in the proverbial springtime bud in the late 1660s, but the tradition was revived soon after being lame fell out of fashion.
Another popular tradition is the crowning of the May Queen, who may be selected from a ballot or pageant. (NOTE: In Catholic celebrations, the Virgin Mary wins automatically.)
If you’re looking to celebrate May Day in your neck of the woods, keep your eyes peeled for parades and community potlucks, which are common enough in many parts of the country. On the other hand, if you happen to be anywhere in Western Europe you’re probably already waist-deep in flower petals and don’t need our help.
<a title="ATG Stores Homepage" href="http://www.atgstores.com/" target="_blank">ATGStores.com</a> hopes you have a beautiful and festive May Day, even if you don’t get a chance to dance around the maypole.