How to celebrate may day

In India, the first May Day was celebrated in Madras (now known as Chennai) by the Labour Kisan Party of Hindustan on May 1, 1923.(Unsplash)

International Labour Day is an official public holiday all over the world in various countries. It is observed every year to pay tribute to the contribution of workers across the world. May 1 or May Day as it is popularly known as, is observed in countries such as Cuba, India, China among other countries.

Origin of May Day in India

May Day is also known as Workers’ Day or International Workers’ Day. May Day has different origin stories in different countries. However, the common theme in all countries is the labour class taking a stand against the exploitation they were subjected to.

In India, the first May Day was celebrated in Madras (now known as Chennai) by the Labour Kisan Party of Hindustan on May 1, 1923. It was also the first time when the Red Flag which symbolises Labour Day was used in India for the first time.

The day is linked to labour movements for communist and socialist political parties. In Hindi, Labour Day is also known as Kamgar Din or Antarrashtriya Shramik Diwas, Kamgar Divas in Marathi and Uzhaipalar Naal in Tamil.

May 1 is also Maharashtra Day and Gujarat Day – on this day in 1960 the two states attained statehood after Bombay (Now Mumbai) had been divided on linguistic lines.

During the era of industrialisation, US industrialists exploited the working class by making them work 15 hours a day. It was only on May 1, 1886, that the labour class came together and revolted against this unjust system and asked for paid leaves, good wages and proper breaks. This is the reason why May Day is celebrated every year.

Our Holidays By Month pages will allow you to search for all the Holidays and Observations which fall within each Month of the Year. These will include:

  • International Years – The United Nations picks several topics or themes each year that are the focus of the calendar year. 
  • Monthly Holidays and Observances are those that are recognized throughout the entire Month such as the Military Holiday of Month of the Military Child recognized in April each year.
  • Weekly Holidays and Observances are those that fall within certain weeks of each month. Most of these have what is called Movable Dates each year, as opposed to Fixed Dates. Typical Holidays will be recognized during the First Week of the Month, Second Week of the Month etc. Some Weekly Holidays have specific dates that they fall on that are the same dates each year, like National Park Week is always on April 18 – 24th each year.
  • Daily Holidays– These are Holidays or Observances which are just recognized on one day each year. Many of the Holidays have Fixed Days, like Christmas is always celebrated on December 25th each year, while Thanksgiving is a movable holiday and always celebrated on the 4th Thursday in November. In our Daily Holidays section, we will have a page for each day of the year, and any holidays and observances that fall on a given day will be listed as well as other information about that day.

How to celebrate may day

Snowman Christmas Ornament on my Mom’s Artificial Christmas Tree! (I love the fresh smell of pine trees!)

Holidays by Month

This site was started on 12-12-12!  The summary pages below will be completed first, and then we will work on the page details for each Holiday and Observances and link them up on the appropriate pages.

How to celebrate may day

Some of the Most Popular January Holidays are:

    on January 1
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Day on January 20, 2020
  • Chinese New Year on January 25, 2020

January is also National Soup Month!

How to celebrate may day

Some of the most popular February Holidays are:

    on February 2
    on February 14
  • Presidents Day / Washington’s Birthday on February 17, 2020

A great week is the Random Acts of Kindness Week – February 16-22, 2020

How to celebrate may day

Some of the most popular March Holidays are:

How to celebrate may day

Some of the most popular April Holidays are:

  • April Fool’s Day - April 1  - April 12, 2020  - April 22

How to celebrate may day

Some of the most popular May Holidays are:

  • Cinco de Mayo – May 5 – May 10, 2020
  • Armed Forces Day – May 16, 2020 – May 25, 2020

How to celebrate may day

Some of the Most Popular June Holidays are:

    – June 21, 2020

How to celebrate may day

Some of the most popular July Holidays are:

     - July 4
  • Parents Day – July 26, 2020 (Fourth Sunday in July)
  • Friendship Day – July 30, 2020

How to celebrate may day

Some of the most popular August Holidays:

  • National Parks Month

How to celebrate may day

Some of the most popular September Holidays are:

    – September 7, 2020
  • Patriot’s Day and 9/11 Remembrance Day – September 11
  • National Grandparent’s Day – September 13, 2020

How to celebrate may day

Some of the most popular October Holidays are:

  • Columbus Day – October 12, 2020
  • Make a Difference Day – October 27 – October 31

How to celebrate may day

Some of the most popular November Holidays are:

     - November 11  - November 26, 2020

How to celebrate may day

Some of the most popular December Holidays are:

    – Eve of Dec 12-Eve of Dec 180, 2020  - December 25  - December 31

Happy Holidays to All.

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How to celebrate may day

My parents’ wedding anniversary is on May 1, so the date has always been a significant one in my family, and each year, we find a way to make it special. It wasn’t until I was in middle school that I realized the love of my folks wasn’t the only reason others were observing the date, because all over the northern hemisphere, people find different ways to celebrate May Day. Just because it isn’t an official holiday in the U.S. doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate it yourself.

Though it isn’t considered an official national holiday in America, May Day is still celebrated across the country in different ways. To some people, May Day is a celebration of all things spring. The annual holiday honoring the season has its roots in ancient Indian and Egyptian spring festivals, the ancient Roman festival honoring Flora, goddess of springtime, and the druid tradition of tree worship. It’s a day to bask in the warm weather, spread springtime joy, and appreciate the environment.

But for many, especially in the United States, May Day isn’t all flowers and sunshine. It’s also International Workers Day, an annual event that not only honors the contribution of working people, but also gives them a day to have their voices heard. Since the spring of 1886, a time unions, reformers, workers, and others came together in Chicago to protest against unfair working conditions, May Day has become a day for civil protests and social activism.

It’s a holiday we should all be paying more attention to, so whether you’re interested in making flower crowns or marching for working moms, here are 10 ways you can celebrate May Day this year.

1. Plant A Tree

Earth Day may have come and gone, but it isn’t the only holiday that celebrates the planet. May Day has its roots in festivals that honor the renewal of spring, so you should spend the holiday embracing nature, and even contributing to its survival. Plant a tree in your community, or start your own at-home garden, and help keep Earth green for many May Days to come.

2. Participate In A Local March Or Protest

May Day is also International Workers Day, and in many places around the world, including the U.S., organizations and everyday citizens come together to make their voices heard through marches, protests, and other kinds of activism. Get involved in International Workers Day events in your city, like the annual May Day March for Workers and Immigration Rights in major cities including Seattle, Boston, and New York. You really can make a difference, but the first step is getting involved.

3. Make A Maypole

It isn’t truly May Day without an official Maypole. Traditionally, the Maypole was a tall wooden pole decorated with brightly covered ribbons used for dancing at folk festivals. You can make your own and incorporate it into your day’s festivities.

4. Have A Dance Party

What do you do with a Maypole, one might ask? You dance around it, of course. Watch a few YouTube videos on Morris dancing until you’ve mastered the art of folk dance, and really get the party started by busting a few moves of your own.

5. Get Creative With Flowers

April showers bring May flowers, so get your hands dirty and have some fun with them. Plant some flowers in your garden, use them in a new recipe, create a freshly picked centerpiece, or play around with floral crowns. Your options are endless, and they all smell pretty good.

6. Write A Letter To Your Elected Official

If you want to see changes in the labor laws, you have to make your voice heard, and a great place to start is with your government representatives. Write a letter to your local elected officials about policy changes you want them to support, or to raise your concerns with common practices. Make their agenda, your agenda.

7. Put Together A May Day Basket

Spread the joy of this springtime holiday by making a May Day basket for someone you love. Remember when you were younger and played Ding, Dong, Ditch? Yeah, it’s kind of like that, but instead of ringing someone’s door bell and running away for the sake of driving them crazy, you leave a basket of small gifts, from fresh flowers to candies and trinkets, behind. But watch out — if they catch you before you get away, you owe them a kiss.

8. Go Out For Happy Hour

May Day serves as a secondary Labor Day, which is meant to celebrate the hard working men and women of the world. Since you don’t actually get the day off from work, though, you’re going to have to wait until after hours to be appreciated, and what better way to say "thank you" to yourself than with cheap drinks with good friends and coworkers?

9. Bake A Cake

While you might not want to follow the exact tradition of making a Beltane cake, which could result in egging, shaming, and a year of harsh judgement for the person who got the unlucky black slice, you should still make something sweet for May Day’s springtime celebration. I mean, any excuse to bake a cake is a good excuse, right?

10. Start A Conversation

To some people, May Day is a cheerful holiday that celebrates the renewal of spring, but for millions of others, it’s a day to stand up and fight for their rights. Even if you don’t grab a sign and march down your city’s street in protest, you can still use this as an opportunity to talk about workers’ rights. Whether it’s with your friends and family, your own employer, or your local government officials, use May Day as an opportunity to talk about things that matter, including fair and equal wages, and opportunities for all.

I’ve always bragged that my birthday, which falls on May 1, is extra special because it lands on a holiday. But in the United States, most people don’t even know what May Day is! And if they do, they definitely don’t even know what it is celebrating. This year, it feels especially important to celebrate when we have an opportunity to, so here is the rundown on May Day and how you can celebrate it this year!

May Day dates back a lot further in history than many might think. While it originated in the United States, it is barely celebrated here, unlike the 66 other countries where it is an official holiday. In the British Isles, the Celts believe May 1 to be the most important day of the year. This day symbolizes the return of life and fertility to the world; it represents the transition from spring to summer. Later in history, May Day became International Workers’ Day in many countries — the equivalent of our Labor Day. No matter which occasion you are following, it is clear May Day calls for celebration. Here are some super easy ways to channel the May Day spirit this year.

Flowers are one of the main focal points of May Day because they are typically in full bloom this time of year. So, go ahead and pick some fresh flowers on an afternoon walk. It’s an easy way to enjoy May Day! Take it one step further and make flower crowns as a fun project that you and your family can wear all day. All you need is an old headband, glue and your freshly picked flowers to make a beautiful celebratory crown. If you don’t want to make a crown, you can also make flower streamers to hang at your celebration. Just glue the flowers to any old string you have and voila: flower garland!

A celebratory feast is essential for celebrating May Day. You can make your favorite springtime recipes or get a head start on the next season with your favorite summer recipes! With these uncertain times, don’t worry about creating an absurd spread; you really only need a couple of yummy dishes to have a fantastic feast. Don’t forget to make a delicious refreshment to go with your meal and, of course, the most important part, dessert! Make a colorful cake or any treat you want and dig in.

Dancing with a community is an essential tradition of May Day. While it is not possible to gather in large groups, you can definitely get creative with coming together. Maybe do a large Zoom call with friends and family or have a neighborhood dance party from your house. Even if it’s just your family, getting outside and letting loose could be the perfect way to decrease stress in these hard and scary times. Make sure to hang your flowers or wear your crowns, too! Dancing under colorful ribbons is part of the tradition, so get creative and hang some vibrant items in your yard. Dance the night away, feast like royals and try to take some time to relax and let loose.

Even though May Day isn’t super well known, it is still a beautiful reason to come together and celebrate. I wish you a happy May Day and a beautiful entry into summer!

celebration, May, may day, Spring

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The Daily Clog (Cal+Blog) accumulates various tidbits about Berkeley and college life. We focus on the UC campus, the city of Berkeley and Berkeley’s online community. We give our two cents on all the goings-on.

Looking forward to celebrating May Day on May 1, 2022 this year? We know we are! Looking back at past decades, May has had different meanings for diverse cultures and countries. Today, specifically in the United States as other countries, it is a celebration of the season of Spring. We’ve got the best tips to make sure that your May Day is one to remember!

May Day is a public holiday celebrated on May 1 in many different cultures around the world. It is a day of unity, togetherness, and rebirth; a day for everyone to come together and celebrate life as we know it!

When is May Day 2022?

A plethora of observances and celebrations take place on May Day on May 1.

History of May Day

Throughout the years and decades, there have been different meanings, festivities, and representations of May Day. The meaning of seasonal change has been the most significant one amongst different countries.

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

In the Middle Ages, English villages had homes with maypoles from rejoice and celebrations of May Day. Villagers would go into the woods to find maypoles set up from towns and cities. Because maypoles came in different sizes, villages would compete with each other to see who had the tallest one. People would dance around them because the pole symbolized male fertility as baskets and wreaths symbolized female fertility.

In the 19th century, a new meaning of May Day came about. May Day also became known as International Workers’ Day for labor rights and an eight hour work- day in the United States.

As time went on, different cultures created their own traditions in alignment with their beliefs. Europeans and Americans celebrate May Day with flower crowns, maypole dancing, and by making flower baskets to share with loved ones. In Hawaii, May Day is known as “Lei Day”, a celebration of the aloha spirit and the giving of the flower. What a better way to celebrate than with the people you love!

When I was a kid, I always spent the first day of May making baskets of flowers and treats and dropping them off on neighbors' porches. I always thought everyone celebrated May Day like this until I was recently chatting with a friend who had no idea what I was talking about. If you're looking for a way to celebrate spring (and the light at the end of the pandemic tunnel), consider celebrating the holiday this year. 

What Is May Day?

If you haven't heard of it before, May Day is celebrated on the first day of May (which—surprise—is why it's called May Day). There isn't a specific origin of the holiday, but rather several centuries-old springtime celebrations that have been condensed into one holiday over the years. 

The first of these celebrations dates back to about 500 B.C. and comes from the ancient Roman celebration of Floralia, a festival that celebrated Flora, the goddess of flowers and fertility. Floralia was celebrated between late April and early May, and typically lasted a whole week. It was a celebration of springtime and new life. 

You may also have heard of Maypoles (they're more common in Europe than in the U.S.) which is another centuries-old tradition that influenced the modern-day May Day. In medieval times, villagers would place bright, colorful streamers and ribbons on a tall pole; young girls would each grab the end of a streamer and do a dance around holding them.

When the pilgrims came to America, they traded the Maypole tradition for more simple baskets of flowers and treats, which is a tradition that's still frequently used today. Over time, all of these spring celebrations and customs have morphed into what we now recognize as May Day. 

When Is May Day?

May Day is always celebrated on the first day of the month regardless of the day of the week, as this marks the halfway point between spring and summer. This year, May Day is Saturday, May 1, 2021. 

How to celebrate may day

With COVID-19 prompting everyone to stay inside, you may be wondering how to celebrate May Day without leaving your home.

Since ancient times, some version of May Day has been celebrated in cultures all over the world.

Known as Floralia in ancient Rome, Walpurgisnacht by the Germanic Teutons, Beltane by the Celts, and as Lei Day in Hawaii, this seasonal holiday embodies the bawdy, exuberant, exhilarating energy of spring fever.

Did you ever dance around a Maypole or create a flower-filled May basket, then leave it on someone’s doorstep as their secret admirer? Or maybe you participated in crowning the May Queen and King? Probably not.

And it’s too bad since all of these traditions capture the original meaning of May Day: love, lust, flowers, fertility, and frolicking in the meadows.

Couldn’t we all use a big dose of that right about now?

In early Celtic folklore, Beltane was considered the time of the year when the “Sun Child” born at the winter solstice reached puberty and hooked up with a maiden goddess. He then becomes her consort, known as the “Green Man,” or the horned god.

The fertility of their “Sacred Marriage” was symbolized pretty graphically when the Maypole — the ultimate phallic symbol — was placed into a hole in Mother Earth, into her womb.

Young men and women wove their ribbons around it in their magical back-and-forth dance, bringing them closer and closer together until they were all snuggled up against the pole. Then they just ran off into the woods and fields and coupled freely, fertilizing the Earth and each other!

It might be kind of hard to imagine how you can tap into that lusty, expansive energy when you’re in lockdown. But with a little imagination and just a few props, you’d be surprised at what you can conjure up!

Here are 5 fun ways to celebrate May Day when you’re stuck inside.

1. Make a May basket and deliver it to someone you love.

You’ll need paper, glue, and a bunch of real or DIY flowers. Feel free to decorate it any way you want.

Roll the paper so that it forms a cone and staple or glue it together — you can add a handle, too.

If you’re lucky enough to have a garden, pick your own flowers. But if not, you can make them from tissue paper. Or, if all else fails, just draw some beautiful ones with markers or crayons, cut them out, and attach them to a few chopsticks, straws, or pipe cleaners (if you have them)!

Fill your cone-basket with your flowers and leave them on someone’s doorstep or just outside their bedroom door.

Whether it’s a surprise or not, it’s bound to brighten both of your days!

2. Decorate a May bush.

While it would be fun to make your own maypole, even a mini-one, it’s a little tricky getting all the ribbons wrapped around it unless you’ve got a lot of people to help you.

So instead, you can embrace the Irish tradition of a May bush, which is definitely easier to re-create. Technically, you’d use the branch of a hawthorn tree but any bush or small tree in your backyard or home will do in a pinch.

The idea is to adorn it with colorful ribbons, rags, pictures, and even eggshells, representing your wishes from now until the summer solstice.

Like the May basket, it’s a fun project for children of all ages!

3. Crown yourselves as May Queen or King.

In the ancient May Day rituals, the May Queen and King represented the Goddess and her consort, the Green Man.

They led villagers through town to the Maypole where everyone danced and sang in a joyful celebration of spring and the blooming energy of Mother Earth.

Have fun making crowns with whatever crafts you have on hand — construction paper, flowers, paper plates, markers, stickers, and glitter. Get creative.

If you’re with your family, you can all make crowns and declare everyone Queens and Kings. Or if you’re by yourself, have your own personal coronation ceremony honoring your gifts and declaring what a fabulous monarch you’ll be!

You may not have a Maypole, but you can certainly march to your May bush to decorate it. Then, afterwards, you can enjoy an evening of music, dancing, or just a good romantic movie.

4. Rally in support of workers’ rights.

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May 1st is also celebrated around the world as International Workers’ Day.

While we may not be able to gather for parades or rallies right now, we can certainly cheer on all the frontline — the essential workers that are keeping our world healthy and functioning.

In New York City, we do that every night at 7 p.m. when the hospital shifts change. We all open our windows, yell, clap, and bang on whatever we can find — pots and pans, drums, and cowbells.

Obviously, that doesn’t work so well in the suburbs or rural areas where people are more spread out.

Why not organize a parade of cars with your neighbors on May 1st and drive by your local hospital or down Main Street to show your appreciation? It may not be in line with the original intention of International Worker’s Day, but it’s perfect for the times we’re in now.

5. Write love letters to each other.

All the fun rituals and traditions associated with May Day make this a great seasonal family holiday, like Halloween (also celebrated around the world by various names) in the second half of the year.

But remember, the original meaning of this ancient Earth holy day is all about celebrating the fertility of the Earth as it bursts out of winter, and how we, humans, can mirror that energy with our own lusty behavior.

So, take some time during the day to write a beautiful (maybe even a little racy) love letter to your sweetie. Then, that evening, after you’ve finished whatever other May Day traditions you’ve embraced, read your letters to each other and cap it off with some fabulous, exuberant sex!

If you’re single, it’s also a powerful time to re-ignite your relationship with your deepest self and renew your practice of self-love. Explore the concept of “self-marriage” and create your own special ceremony.

Be inspired to create your own quarantined version of May Day this year, even if you can’t do it outside!

Consider it practice for a full-blown, bawdy, joyful maypole dance party in 2021!

Yesterday was May Day, and that means it’s time for a party. Or a protest. Maybe both. Why are May Day celebrations around the world so different? To find out, let’s take a look at the history of the holiday and the places where it’s celebrated.

Traditional May Day Celebrations Around the World

In the northern hemisphere, May Day celebrates the coming of spring (or of summer, depending on where you are). Many May Day traditions have roots that go back to before the arrival of Christianity.

For example, the ancient Romans celebrated the end of April with a six-day-long festival in honour of the goddess Flora. The festival featured games, performances, “lustful” animals like hares and goats running rampant, flowers and a sacrifice to Flora at the end.

Meanwhile, Celtic cultures traditionally observed Beltane on the first of May, with bonfires, flowers, decorating a May Bush, and offerings to the fairies to keep them from making mischief at the expense of the villagers’ herds.

Traces of these ancient rites remain in traditional May Day celebrations around the world, often mixed in with Christian beliefs.

United Kingdom

For example, in parts of the UK, May Day celebrations include dancing around a maypole, crowning a May Queen and traditional morris dancing. Some towns have also brought back Jack in the Green, a drunken ruffian character clothed in foliage. Jack in the Green was once a common sight at May Day festivals until Victorian morals did away with him.

Meanwhile, Cornwall hosts unique May Day celebrations, including the ‘Obby ‘Oss festival in Padstow and Flower Boat parades in Kingsand, Cawsand, and Millbrook. For the ‘Obby ‘Oss festival, villagers decorate the town with a maypole, flowers, and greenery. Teams of dancers parade through the town. One of them carries a model hobby horse with jaws that snap shut and tries to snatch young women as they pass by.

During the Flower Boat parades, participants cover a model sailboat in flowers. The boat moves through each town in turn, accompanied by a parade of townspeople. Cawsand Beach is the end of the line, and there “the boat is then launched into the sea, banishing any wicked weather as it goes.”

In Scotland, Edinburgh hosts the Beltane Fire Festival, an overnight party with dancing, performances, and (as you might have guessed) fire. Lots and lots of beautiful fire.

Sweden

The Swedes celebrate May Day the day before, on April 30th. Yes, April 30th is Walpurgis Eve (or Valborg), not May Day. But the traditional activities are suspiciously similar to May Day celebrations elsewhere: bonfires, singing, and parades. For students, a breakfast including champagne and strawberries has become a modern tradition (and one that’s well worth poaching, no matter where you’re from.)

Finland

Like the Swedes, the Finnish traditionally celebrate the coming of spring on April 30th, which they call Vappu. It’s one of the four biggest holidays on the Finnish calendar. Traditions include:

  • Lots of alcoholic beverages, especially for students.
  • Placing a cap on the Havis Amanda, an art nouveau sculpture of a nude woman in Helsinki, and on other statues throughout the country.
  • Drinking a homemade version of mead called sima.
  • Eating funnel cakes.
  • Having a picnic in a park.

Germany

In Germany, Walpurgisnacht (April 30th) and May Day are both opportunities to “Tanz in den Mai” or “Dance into May.” Celebrations include parties, bonfires, and maypoles (called maibaum). In some parts of the country, secret admirers deliver maibaum to girls in the night. Meanwhile, secret haters deliver maibaum wrapped in all-white streamers, the old-school equivalent of a “thumbs down.”

Italy

In Italy, May Day is called Calendimaggio or cantar maggio. Singers called maggerini deck themselves out in flowers and fresh green sprigs of alder. They go from house to house, singing songs about spring in exchange for small gifts like eggs, wine, and sweets.

Romania

In Romania, May Day is called arminden, ziua pelinului (mugwort day), or ziua bețivilor (drunkard’s day). It should come as no surprise that for many, the holiday involves drinking copious amounts of red wine, sometimes flavored with mugwort. Fresh spring greenery is used as decoration, and oxen get the day off from work, too.

Bulgaria

Bulgarians celebrate May Day as Irminden. Interestingly, most Bulgarian May Day traditions involve warding off lizards and snakes. Bulgarians stay out of the fields to avoid snakebites and build bonfires to scare the reptiles away.

Hawaii

Most parts of the United States don’t celebrate May Day. But Hawaii does. They call it Lei Day. Oahu’s Queen Kapiolani Park holds the biggest Lei Day celebration, with a lei-making contest, live music and more. Instead of a May Queen, Hawaii has a “Lei Queen.” The Lei Queen is chosen ” based on their lei-making skills, hula proficiency, and Hawaiian language fluency.”

International Worker’s Day

So how did a traditional spring celebration turn into an international day of protest? May 1st is also International Workers’ Day. The date was chosen to both coincide with the existing holiday and to commemorate the Haymarket Affair in Chicago. On May 4th at Chicago’s Haymarket, a protest turned violent. Both police and protestors died.

Today, countries around the world celebrate . . . But not in America, where it’s officially National Loyalty Day, an anti-communist holiday that nobody except the President really celebrates anymore.