May Day: What it is and how we can celebrate

An illustration of a variety of colorful flowers from overhead.
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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

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!

Feast

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

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!

Contact Jackie Amendola at [email protected].