May Day

Happy May Day!

Throughout the decades, there have been different festivities and representations of May Day, seasonal change has been the most significant one across countries.

May Day is one of the four ancient Celtic cross-quarter days, an astronomical holiday as it falls between the March equinox and June solstice. Originating from its Celtic name, “Beltane,” a spring celebration that included dancing, singing, special bonfires, also doors and animals would be decorated with yellow flowers and ribbons. During this time, in in Ireland, people would visit special wells and the Beltane dew was believed to bring beauty and youthfulness to those around it.

When the Romans took over Britain, they brought with them their five-day celebration known as Floralia, devoted to the worship of the goddess of flowers, Flora. Taking place between April 20 and May 2, the rituals of this celebration were eventually combined with Beltane.

May Day is still celebrated in many villages in the UK with the crowning of the May Queen. The gentlemen of the village may also been found celebrating with Jack-in-the-Green, otherwise found on the signs of pubs across the country called the Green Man.

May Day is a public holiday celebrated on 1st May or the first Monday of May. In 1889, May Day was chosen as the date for International Workers’ Day by the socialists and communists of the Second International, as well as labour activists and leftists in general around the world, to commemorate the Haymarket affair in Chicago and the struggle for an eight-hour working day. (International Workers’ Day is also called “May Day”, but it is a different celebration from the traditional May Day).

Here is a poem by Leigh Hunt

James Henry Leigh Hunt (19 October 1784– 28 August 1859), an English critic, essayist, poet, and writer.

Published by poetisatinta

I was born and live in rural North Wales (UK) and found poetry again after a lifetime, so grateful I did :)

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