Happy May Day

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Happy May Day, everyone.  Can you believe that it’s the first day of May? I mean, really. Where on earth is the year going?  Holy Moly.

The history of May Day is quite interesting, to me anyway. The History Major (my first undergraduate degree) in me loves the “why” and “how” things come to be.

Anyhoo, according to MSN, Celts called it Beltane and the Romans named it Floralia, but May 1st has been known as May Day since the Middle Ages. Celebrated across the globe, May Day is actually two distinct holidays: one in honor of spring and the other in recognition of workers.

Ancient villagers celebrated the end of the harsh winter months and the start of the fertile summer months by feasting, frolicking and competing in games. Specific customs varied between countries: Making a bonfire was popular in Sweden, crowning a May Day queen was common in Ireland, and putting on plays was the tradition in Rome. Doesn’t it sound like so much fun (Silver Lining)?

Also known as International Workers’ Day, May Day has a connection to work that dates back to the late 19th century, when American laborers fought for an eight-hour workday. While the U.S. government moved our holiday, now known as Labor Day, to September, many countries still celebrate the labor movement on May 1.

In much of Western Europe and parts of America, May Day is now celebrated with traditional folk dancing around a maypole, a tree-like totem that typically stands up to ten feet tall.

Of course no holiday is complete without traditional food and drink. Some favorite festive eats? In Finland, celebrants enjoy Tippaleivät, fried fritters similar to funnel cakes found at county fairs, while Germans wash their meal down with Maiwein, or May Wine.

So, wherever you are, hope you have a Silver Lined May Day!

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