Today is May Day!
And before the term was commonly associated with danger, anyone who heard “May Day” would think of people in bright clothes dancing around a pole with countless ribbons. They’d think of springtime, a new year, and a resounded end to the frost and death of winter.
Since Ancient Rome, May Day has been an important time to boost the population’s morale, though its name has undergone changes. Initially, the festival was dedicated to Flora, the Roman goddess of flowers; understandable, given the bright blossoming buds that can be seen at this time of year.
The most famous orgies in European history, the Mysteries of Dionysus and Aphrodite, are also associated with this holiday. Historically, this festival would go on for days (and nights) with drinking, sex, grand feasts, animal races (and fights!) in a display of the utmost debauchery. It was one hell of a way to mark the complete end of winter’s grasp.
In Gallic Britain, May Day was Beltane, a festival that marks the beginning of summer. Rituals would be held to protect the harvest and livestock; people would dance and jump through large fires, and magnificent feasts would be held to celebrate.
Now, in the secular world the 1st May has other implications. International Workers’ Day, a day that commemorates all of the labourers and working class people of the world. This holiday is mostly associated with socialism and communism, but regardless of personal ideology the current global crisis has shown us just how much we depend on these people.
2020 has had a rough start. Maybe we should all celebrate May Day to say goodbye to the old bad luck, and usher in some good luck and some much needed morale. Just make sure you do it at home, folks!