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It’s May Day! (POLL)

There are many different way to celebrate May Day, from the traditional celebrations, that is related to the Celtic festival of Beltane, and the Germanic Festival of Walpurgis Night.

In some parts of the United States, May Baskets are made. These are small baskets usually filled with flowers or treats and left at someone’s doorstep. The giver rings the bell and runs away. The person receiving the basket tries to catch the fleeing giver. If they catch the person, a kiss is exchanged! Will you celebrate May Day this way today?

Other countries celebrate in various ways as well:

Canada: May Day is celebrated in some parts of the Province of British Columbia. Celebrations often take place not on May 1 but during the Victoria Day long weekend, later in the month and when the weather is likely to be better. The honour of having the longest continually observed May Day in the British Commonwealth – since 1870 – is claimed by the BC city of New Westminster.

Finland: Celebrations among the younger generations take place on May Day Eve, see Walpurgis Night in Finland, most prominent being the afternoon ‘crowning’ of statues in towns around the country with a student cap.

May Day is known as Vappu, from the Swedish term. This is a public holiday that is the only carnival-style street festivity in the country. People young and old, particularly students, party outside, picnic and wear caps or other decorative clothing.

Some Finns make a special lemonade from lemons, brown sugar, and yeast called ‘sima’. It contains very little alcohol, so even children can drink it. You can also buy a similar product in all stores. Some Finns also make doughnuts and a crisp pastry fried in oil made from a similar, more liquid dough. Balloons and other decorations like paper streamers are seen everywhere.

France: On May 1, 1561, King Charles IX of France received a lily of the valley as a lucky charm. He decided to offer a lily of the valley each year to the ladies of the court. At the beginning of the 20th century, it became custom to give a sprig of lily of the valley, a symbol of springtime, on May 1. The government permits individuals and workers’ organisations to sell them tax-free. Nowadays, people may present loved ones either with bunches of lily of the valley or dog rose flowers

Great Britain: May Day has been a traditional day of festivities throughout the centuries. May Day is most associated with towns and villages celebrating springtime fertility (of the soil, livestock, and people) and revelry with village fetes and community gatherings. Since the reform of the Catholic Calendar, May 1 is the Feast of St Joseph the Worker, the patron saint of workers. Seeding has been completed by this date and it was convenient to give farm laborers a day off. Perhaps the most significant of the traditions is the maypole, around which traditional dancers circle with ribbons

So wherever you are, however you celebrate, enjoy! For most of us we just enjoy knowing that May means warmer weather, and Summer 2013 is getting close! So Happy May Day one and all!

Now take our ‘May Day’ Poll:

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