May 1 - May Day

 Posted on May 1, 2021

This is an update of my post published May 1, 2010:

In some places around the world, May Day is celebrated as the first day of summer or as a day of fertility—lots of flowers and dancing and so forth.

In other places, May Day is celebrated as Labor Day, a day in which to think and talk about workers' rights - and quite likely protest current working conditions!

(Interestingly enough, Labor Day  in the United States is NOT associated with May 1, but in many other nations, labor / workers' rights are associated with May 1 because of an event that happened in the U.S.!  The 1886 Haymarket Affair started with a general strike for better working conditions but ended with tragic violence and loss of life. Apparently, because the Soviet Union was among the many non-U.S. countries that honor workers on the anniversary of the Haymarket Affair, May Day being Labor Day was associated with communism. And that seems to be why the U.S. celebrates Labor Day at a completely different time of year, in September.)

Let's loo
k at one colorful May Day tradition, from Kingsand, Cawsand, and Millbrook in England:

People wear red and white clothes and decorate their houses with flowers. A model of the ship The Black Prince is covered in flowers and is paraded from the Quay at Millbrook to the beach at Cawsand and then cast adrift.

After the Flower Boat Ritual is over, there is Morris dancing and May pole dancing.

Morris dancing is a kind of folk dancing apparently performed by men. It has rhythmic stepping and choreographed figures (doesn't all dance?) and it is sometimes performed with sticks, swords, handkerchiefs, bells, or even tobacco pipes.

A May pole 
is a tall wooden pole decorated with long colored ribbons that are attached at the top, and also with festoons and wreaths of flowers and greenery. The May pole dancers weave the ribbons in and out and in this way make patterns.


Celebrate with May baskets.

An old tradition that could easily be revived is making May baskets. Make small baskets filled with sweets or flowers (real ones are great, but they could be paper or chenille flowers), and leave them anonymously on your neighbors' front porches. If you make several, you could use inexpensive materials such as plastic strawberry baskets and shredded-paper or “Easter grass” to hold the sweets or flowers.

Here are some cute paper “baskets”—and lots of other May Day crafts!

Do some crafts.

Check out the DLTK website for more May Day crafts.

Color some pictures.

Illustrator Jan Brett has some really great coloring pages to print out and color. Here is one with Hedgie the Hedgehog and spring flowers, and here is one about a springtime bike ride.

Make May Day a play day!

Here are some May Day activity suggestions.


Did you know...?

May Day is Lei Day in Hawaii.


So, do your best to celebrate: workers and labor, spring and summer, flowers and leis. Whew!

Also on this date:


Loyalty Day

(First Saturday of May)

(First Saturday of May)

(First Saturday of May)

(First Saturday of May)

(First Saturday of May)

(First Saturday of May)

(First Saturday of May)

(First Saturday of May)

Plan ahead:

Check out my Pinterest boards for:
And here are my Pinterest boards for:

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