Tag Archives: May Day

Floralia: May Day’s Origins

New for 2017 — Image from our Bloom 2017 wall calendar featuring photographs by Ron van Dongen. Click image for more info.

Having just named my puppy Flora, I’m more inclined than usual to celebrate Floralia, the Roman holiday that’s most likely the origin of May Day, the flowery holiday that initiates the summer season.

The festival honored Flora, the Sabine goddess who represented the reproductive abundance of nature, the sexual aspects of plants, and the attractiveness of flowers. The celebrations, which began on April 28 and went on for six days and nights, included games, pantomimes, plays, and stripteases. According to Suetonius in CE 68, the entertainment included a tightrope-walking elephant. Continue reading

May Eve, May Day: The Merry Month of May

Awaken Your Dreams greeting card featuring artwork by Kinuko Y. Craft. See the series and sampler packs on our website.

Awaken Your Dreams greeting card featuring artwork by Kinuko Y. Craft. See the series and sampler packs on our website.

One of the great seasonal holidays approaches: May Eve, which ushers in the merry month of May.

It is known by various names in various cultures and countries, such as Walpurgisnacht in Germany and Beltane in Ireland. This turning point of the year, halfway between the spring equinox and the summer solstice, has long been a time for gathering around bonfires and frolicking in the green wood. Like Halloween, its sister holiday on the opposite side of the wheel of the year, there’s a sense that the veil between the worlds is thin. But on May Day, rather than ghosts, it’s the fairies you have to worry about. The Queen of the Fairies rides out on a snow-white horse, looking for mortals to take back to Fairyland with her for seven years. It is said that if you sit beneath a tree on May Eve, you might see her ride by or hear the bells of her horse as she passes. But hide your face, or she might choose you! Continue reading

May Day – Something for Everyone to celebrate!

2015 Posters for Peace and Justice wall calendar

Published in the 2015 Posters for Peace and Justice wall calendar.
In 2012 dozens of groups around the country decided to change that. They coordinated a general strike to take place on May Day that year, encouraging people to avoid school and work and to take part in Occupy-inspired protests against economic inequality.
Hugh D’Andrade contributed to the movement with this poster, inspired by a nineteenth-century May Day broadside by Walter Crane. He released the poster online, under a Creative Commons license, and encouraged people to download it and use it as they saw fit. Its reach spread far and wide on blogs, news sites, and community boards.

May 1st, often called May Day, just might have more holidays than any other day of the year. It’s a celebration of Spring. It’s a day of political protests. It’s a neopagan festival, a saint’s feast day, and a day for organized labor. In many countries, it is a national holiday. Continue reading