May Day: 6 Facts You May Not Have Known

What do you know about May Day?

While it may not be the most recognized holiday in Fort Collins, Colorado, May Day is currently being celebrated by people throughout the world in the form of dance, music, and festivals.

So for those of us that still have to work today, here are six interesting facts you may not have known about this historical holiday:

  1. May Day is really two separate holidays: the celebration of the coming summer and fertility and the celebration of labor day.
  1. According to history, Beltane is the pagan name for May Day and translates to “day of fire.” May Day celebrates the coming of warmer weather and fertility.
  1. May Day also celebrates International Workers’ Day and the decision to limit a workday to 8 hours. In the 19th century, American laborers fought for this right and, although America celebrates Labor Day in September, many countries still celebrate the holiday on May 1.
  1. A tradition associated with May Day comes from the medieval era – the dance around the maypole. Young unmarried women circle around a decorated pole while weaving different patterns of ribbons. The Catholic Church banned the practice in the 1600s because they believed the dance had impure and sexual connotations. The dance is still practiced throughout Europe to this day.
  1. May 1 is Lei Day in Hawaii and is celebrated with festivals, lei-making competitions, music, and more.
  1. Shouting “mayday” is most commonly known as the international distress signal and actually has no association with May Day or May 1. The phrase means “come help me” and derives from the French.

 

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Want to see how the world is celebrating May Day 2014? Check out these images from USA Today. 

 

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