Happy “May Day” Everyone! (Does Anyone Celebrate It Anymore?)

Happy “May Day” Everyone! (Does Anyone Celebrate It Anymore?) May 1, 2013

Watch for my next post…best books about the Trinity.

However, in honor of this majestic holiday, I declare an interlude for remembrance and renewed celebration.

Does anyone else remember “May Day?”

When I was a kid, it was a sort of holiday. Anyway, we observed it at my schools (elementary and junior high) and home.

May 1 was, of course (still is to some neo-pagans), a Spring fertility festival in pre-Christian Europe. In many European towns (especially Germanic) you can still see a “May pole” in the center of the town. Young ladies (mostly) danced around it on May Day (May 1). I don’t know if they do that anymore. It was, of course, originally a phallic symbol, something very few people remember.

When I was a kid, May 1 was “Government Day” at school. We all marched outside (often in the snow because this was in the upper Midwest), sang patriotic songs while the school band played and pledged allegiance to the U.S. flag. Then the curriculum for the day (especially during an “assembly”) was about our American way of life and how much better it is than…especially those in communist countries.

Of course, May 1 was “International Workers Day” and a big holiday in communist countries. So our school celebrations were directly contrary, planned to oppose, that observance of the day. We often heard talks or watched films about how terrible communism is.

At home…my brother and I dreaded, absolutely dreaded (!) May 1. Our stepmother made us help her create “May baskets” (dainty little woven baskets with brightly colored ribbons on them filled with candy and other “goodies”). Then she drove us around the neighborhood to especially elderly people’s homes. She would park a block away from the target house and we were ordered to jump out of the car, creep up to the front porch of the house, ring the doorbell, put down a May basket and yell “May Day!” and run back to the car before being seen.

Really. I kid you not.

Needless to say, we resisted this practice as soon as we were old enough.

I have never heard of anyone else doing this, so I don’t know where my stepmother got the idea. But it seemed that she had done it as a child and was just passing a tradition on to us. She never was very good at discerning things boys would gladly do from things girls might do more gladly.

I find it interesting that today (and now for a very long time) April Fool’s Day (April 1 in the U.S.) is a much better known and “observed” (if that’s even the right word) “special day” than May 1.

But, nevertheless and whatever…Happy May Day to everyone! (But don’t expect a May basket on your doorstep from me! 🙂

 

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