About May Day
May Day means different things to different countries - it's actually a different public holiday depending on where you live. In many countries, May Day is celebrated as Labor Day (a day of celebrations organized by unions, political groups and activists).
May Day is also a traditional holiday in many countries originating from various Celtic and German festivals. May Day marks the beginning of farmable spring in the Northern hemisphere and was associated with pagan and neopagan festivals. As Europe became Christianized, pagan holidays merged with or replaced Christian holidays. May Day is most closely associated with Easter - when small baskets of sweets and/or flowers were usually left secretly on neighbors doorsteps.
The earliest May Day celebration appeared BC, with the festival of Flora (the Roman Goddess of flowers). In Europe and America, May Day tradition involves dancing around the Maypole and crowning of the "Queen of the May." May 1 was one of the most important holidays for the Druids of the British Isles. the day was thought to divide the year in half. The other half ended at Samhain on November 1st.
After Roman occupation of the British Isles, the beginning of May was a time to worship Flora - the goddess of flowers. May Day then became part of Floralia - a 5 day celebration from April 28 - May 2. Floralia rituals soon replaced/merged with May Day celebrations.
Roman Catholics devote the month of May to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Mary's head will often be adorned with flowers in a May crowning.
Be sure to read futher details on May Day and how various countries celebrate it differently.
May Day Activities and Games