What is May Day?
By: Connor Iadevaia
May Day is a public holiday usually celebrated on May 1st. It’s originally from an ancient Northern Hemisphere spring festival and a traditional spring holiday in many cultures. During the festivities there are dances, singing, and cake. The origin of May Day dates back to celebrations with Floralia, the festival of Flora, the Roman goddess of flowers, which was held on April 27 during the Roman Republic era. As Europe became Christianized in 380 B.C., pagan holidays lost their religious character and May Day turned into a popular celebration. A common tradition the people would do is dance around the Maypole. In the Middle Ages, all villages had Maypoles. Towns would compete to see who had the tallest one. Over time this festival incorporated dance performances, plays, and literature. People would also crown the “May Queen” for the day’s festivities. European settlers in America also celebrated May Day. A common thing settlers would make for this celebration is May baskets. These are small baskets usually filled with flowers or treats and left at someone’s doorstep. The giver would ring the bell and then run away. Modern May Day ceremonies in the U.S. vary greatly from region to region.