May Day celebrations originated in pre-Christian times during the Roman heyday (when the calendar was a bit different than our modern version…i.e. February 1 was the first day of Spring and May 1 was the first day of Summer but, I digress). These days it is more associated with secular celebrations of dancing, festivals celebrating the arrival of spring, children making May baskets to carry flowers, and in the US, the labor movement.
In the late 1800’s unions were demanding the workday be shortened to 8 hours. Strikes and the May 4th rioting in Chicago’s Haymarket Square provided the impetus toward shortening the workweek. Labor leaders, socialists and anarchists around the work rallied around those strikes choosing May 1st to be International Workers’ Day to commemorate the Haymarket riot which has evolved into a day for demonstrations, parades, and speeches. The Soviet Union used May Day as a display of their military might in a parade at the Kremlin. In the US (and other parts of the world), May Day ceremonies vary but often unite the holiday’s Green Root (pagan) and Red Root (labor) traditions. Since 2006, May Day protests in the US tend to center around immigration reform and other political protests.
Around these parts in the Mile High City, Sam and I tend to celebrate the arrival of Spring-like weather and early blossoms, longer days and a dusting off of Winter doldrums. Sam likes May Day; it gives him the opportunity to hang out in the garden and smell the wonderful scents of spring, run through plants
“Dude, do not pee on that one!!” and generally meet and greet the neighbors who didn’t venture out much during the cold snowy days of Winter. While I am grateful to the labor movement for giving us that 8 hour workday and weekends off, I tend to celebrate the arrival of things not associated with snow shovels on May Day. However, I note that last year on May 5 we did receive nearly 4″ of the white stuff so I’m still holding my breath we only get the liquid variety of moisture this month.
Happy May Day, happy springtime! Any big plans for today or for the weekend? 🙂
Live, love, bark! <3