May Day is significant in many different ways. First, May Day, also known as the International Workers’ Day, is a celebration of the labor movement and other left-wing movements.

Maypole Dancing from

Maypole Dancing from

International Workers’ Day originated in 1886 when workers around the world gathered to demonstrate against impossible working hours and to demand the 8-hour working day. Before this movement it was common for factory workers to work 10-16 hours a day in dangerous, unhealthy conditions. These demonstrations soon achieved their goal and the 8-hour working day was made an official policy. Therefore, in some countries, International Workers’ Day is not only celebrated by labour unions, but by all workers because (setting its socialist roots aside) the day has come to symbolize social justice and international labor rights. Traditional celebrations for International Workers’ Day usually include public demonstrations and organized street marches.

The second way to celebrate May Day has its roots all the way down in pagan, European customs of the Middle Ages. May 1st (when simply called ‘May Day’ not ‘International Workers’ Day) is a celebration of springtime fertility and the abolishment of winter. In Germany and Scandinavian countries, for example, May Day takes the form of a carnival, and most young people use the day as an opportunity to party. In the United Kingdom May Day often includes folk traditions such as Morris dancing.

Here’s an old English rhyme about spring:

A swarm of bees in May
Is worth a load of hay;
A swarm of bees in June
Is worth a silver spoon;
A swarm of bees in July
Is not worth a fly.

Happy May Day to you all!

Also in May:

World No-Tobacco Day – May 31st

International Day for UN Peacekeepers – May 29th

Africa Day – May 25th

The Day of Cyrillic Alphabet – May 24th

International Day for Biological Diversity – May 22nd

Cultural Diversity Day – May 21st

Cultural Diversity Day: A Special ‘Hello!’

World Day Against Homophobia – May 17th

World Telecommunications and Information Society Day – May 17th

Mastering the Art of Cheek Kissing

International Day of Families – May 15th

World Fair Trade Day – May 12th

Red Cross Crescent Day – May 8th

Europe Day – May 9th

Wesak – May 5th

World Press Freedom Day – May 3rd


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This entry was posted on Tuesday, May 1st, 2012 at 7:00 am and is filed under days of significance, General, social practices . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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