Thursday, May 7, 2015

What in the Heck is May Day Anyway?

I've had people ask me, What is May Day? 

It really depends on what country you live in for me to answer that. It has a long history that you can read about here if you'd like.  

My husband said that it's a communist holiday, but I couldn't find any information on that. A lot of holidays have dark sides, so that wouldn't surprise me. I read that May 1 is also International Workers Day, but that's something different from the holiday celebrated.

From what I've heard...many places celebrate May Day - the 1st of May with pole dancing. No...not the sexy pole dancing that you probably got a visual of. It's just a pole, people gather around it with ribbons and dance around it. The picture below is in Savannah, Georgia of all places. Ha I went to grad school there. It's a celebration of spring really. Sometimes there is a parade, and a picnic to.

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When my Mom and Aunt's grew it was way more popular than it is now. They celebrated it by putting together a small basket that had goodies and flowers in it. They'd go drop the basket off at someone's house that they had a crush on. Then ring the doorbell, and run for their life. If the person in the house caught them, or tagged them, they had to kiss them.

When I was a kid we only delivered cups filled with goodies, and flowers to our friend's houses. The cup is still called a May Day Basket. We rang the doorbell and ran. It lost the whole - give it to a person you have a crush on bit. If we didn't get a May Day basket it was kind of a bummer. It was fun getting them. They didn't come every year. 

Now most people here do not celebrate the holiday at all. If you do it's not about crushes. It just a friendly gesture. You A) Better know the person you're giving it to. and B) Better let them see you. Let's face it stranger danger is ramped now. Getting food from strangers that are unmarked is down right creepy. 

This was the boy's first May Day baskets that they ever got. That's how little it's celebrated. I wouldn't say it's a Nebraska thing. May Day is celebrated in Canada, Sweden, Spain (they call it Os Maios), some parts of Australia, Romania, Bulgaria, Italy, Ireland, Finland, Germany, and Great Brittan. In England they actually have a May Queen. 
 Notice the crown of flowers.

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My Great Grandma came from Sweden on a ship. I'm assuming that's part of why my Mom and Aunts celebrated it. It did seem more popular back in the day, and way less popular now. When I was a kid I loved the original American Girls Doll Kirsten because she was Swedish and came to America on a ship. Now that company is all about the money. Kirsten is no longer sold, and they are all about the look like me kind of dolls. That could be a whole new blog post.

 Notice the wreath crown
Swedish tradition St. Lucia
Getting a May Day basket is fun. They usually have peanuts, m&ms, possibly gum drops, popcorn, and a spring flower on top.


Did you know anything about May Day? Am I alone in knowing about it? Apparently our neighbors knew about it.

5 comments:

Cascia Talbert said...

I remember May Day baskets. I think I made those when I was a kid too.

Ai Sakura said...

I read about this before.. but for us in Singapore, we celebrate May 1 as Labour Day, a day to celebrate people in the workforce so yeah it's a public holiday! :P


Ai @ Sakura Haruka

Masshole Mommy said...

I had never even heard of it until you posted about it the other day. There are definitely no May Day celebrations around this part of the country.

Theresa Mahoney said...

Thanks for enlightening us! Even if we had May Day, all my neighbors are jerks and wouldn't appreciate the gesture of giving or getting a May Day Basket!

(Terry) My Journey With Candida said...

I Remember when I was younger, people used to do may poles and dance around them. I have no idea why though

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