May Day is around the corner.  For those who may not be familiar, it is a world holiday that is widely recognized around the globe.

Originating from the Celtic, Beltane, and the Germanic, Walpurgis Night, May Day was initially a Pagan celebration of springtime and fertility.

These Pagan ceremonies were phased out by the emergence of Christianity and were abolished altogether for a time by the Puritans. Still, May Day festivities survive in various forms. In England, some celebrate with a colorfully-wrapped Maypole and the choosing of a May Queen, as referenced by Led Zeppelin in the song, Stairway to Heaven.

“If there’s a bustle in your hedgerow, don’t be alarmed now.

It’s just a spring clean for the May Queen.”

Not long ago, it was a May Day tradition in America to leave a May Basket filled with candy on the door of a person one admired.

The Cold War and May Day’s association with the U.S.S.R greatly diminished this tradition and, subsequently, U.S. basket sales plummeted.

Presently, May Day is associated with The International Worker’s Day and the Labor Movement, and is recognized in over eighty countries. Its origins trace back to 1894 and the Haymarket Affair in Chicago, where a bomb was thrown into a group of striking workers and police opened fire, killing many. In 2012, Occupy Wall Street joined with organized labor in New York City, as thousands gathered in Union Square Park on May 1st, 2012, to draw attention to worker’s rights.

Perhaps the most common association people have with the term comes from its military application and those words so often uttered in movies by frantic pilots … “May Day! May Day!” The source of this terminology is not the pagan holiday, but the French word m’aidez, which, loosely translated, means, help me.


By Kacy R – Opinion piece