Yep, a great day to celebrate: May Day of old, Morris Dancing and Maypole Dancing; which is still practiced in some villages around Britain, particularly Somerset and Cornwall.
The History of May Day and Labour Day Animated Guide: https://youtu.be/QYc6p1c5__E
May Day Celebrations at Elstow, Bedfordshire, England (1939): https://youtu.be/nU62gpI7WgQ
May Day Celebration, Morris Dancing and Maypole Dancing at Priston, Somerset, England (2016): https://youtu.be/N_znAQDH9-g
While spring has usually been a time of celebration, it has not always been so everywhere.
When Thomas Morton, leader of the Merry Mount colony in the very early states, erected a giant maypole and the citizens made merry, Gov. William Bradford (from the Puritan colony) was horrified by the ‘beastly practices of ye mad Bacchanalians.’ The puritans came to MerryMount where they arrested Morton, chopped down the Maypole and sent Morton back to England.
Thanks wilderness, a bit of history I didn't know; so I found the Wikipedia Article on Thomas Morton educational and enlightening.
Yes, human efforts to control how others behave is both sad and enlightening. And frightening, for there is always somebody, somewhere, that will think we are misbehaving and make that attempt to control us.
Yes, that’s a whole subject fraught with difficulties; as intervening in the affairs of others on perceived moral grounds, or because they are acting contrary to your own beliefs or values can be controversial in that one side is acting as judge and jury upon the other side; and it can be argued “who has the right” to decide what is “right”?
Examples might be:-
#1. If bullies pick on someone because they are different, should those bullies be stopped?
Certainly, in European law this general principle is extended to protect against ‘religious persecution’ and prejudice against the disabled, elderly, ethnic minorities etc., e.g. ‘hate crime’, which is a criminal offence in Europe.
I know many Americans pour scorn on the European ‘hate crimes’ because they perceive it as infringing on ‘freedom of speech’; but that seems to be an example of where ‘cultural values’ differ between our two nations!
#2. Infringement of ‘Human Rights’, ‘political oppression’, or child slavery practiced by some countries; should other countries intervene, and if so, to what degree? Should we use ‘sanctions’, ‘political pressure’, ‘diplomatic pressure’ and or war etc.?
There are many other areas (related topics) where similar questions are posed, and finding the right balance is nigh on impossible because people will never agree; especially if they’re from different cultures with different social and cultural values.
#3. Britain, with its Empire, learnt the hard way e.g. Britain over 100 years ago controlled over 25% of the world's population (and at one time America). Whereas now England is just a small isolated island on the fringes of Europe struggling to keep control of what’s left of the United Kingdom (four nations bound together by Treaties). After Ireland (the Republic of Ireland) freed itself from English rule in the Irish civil war of the 1920’s England has taken a more pragmatic stance of ‘self-determination’ e.g. if the peoples of Northern Ireland or Scotland wish to become ‘Independent’ of English Rule, they can do so peacefully (via Referendum); albeit, Scotland trying to get England to agree to a 2nd Referendum is proving difficult.
Nevertheless, the English Government's more pragmatic approach to ‘self-determination’ has led to the Celtic Nations (Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales) being given more powers in recent decades; and has even led to England giving official and legal status ‘as a protected minority nation’ to the Celtic peoples of Cornwall in 2014; following a peaceful campaign by the peoples of Cornwall for such a recognition.
Kernow (Cornwall’s campaign in 2012 for recognition as a Celtic Nation, separate from England): https://youtu.be/-nN9I_7djgo
Cornwall granted legal ‘national minority status’ by the English Government in 2014: https://youtu.be/vmzA8v3H5nw
The whole question of ‘freedom of choice’ vs ‘interference’ by others is a complex subject, but I’m sure you have your own views on it!
My personal ‘rule of thumb’ is that if ‘personal freedoms’ don’t harm others’ then there shouldn’t be a major issue; but if the action of one ‘in the name of personal freedom’ harms others’, then there is an issue. Albeit, debating the rights and wrongs of that issue is another matter!
On the whole I agree with your final paragraph, Arthur. However, I think precedence of individual human rights over the good of society as a whole sometimes goes too far. Individualism was a concept that didn’t exist prior to the age of Enlightenment.
Yep, striking the right balance is always tricky; especially when it comes to things like 'political correctness':-
When I was a Trade Union Rep., I'd always write 'chairperson' in my minutes, rather than 'chairman' out of respect for equality. Some circumvented the issue by just writing 'chair', but I find 'chair' so impersonal.
Although it becomes a bit more of a mouthful when you start trying to say things like 'post person' or 'milk person' instead of postman and milkman; and there doesn't seem to be a suitable alternative for the word 'mankind'.
In our parliament, personally, I quite like the 'political correctness' used there, although many others feel its a step too far; and at times it probably is.
I guess the old saying, used by President Lincoln is quite apt:
"....you can't please all of the people all of the time".
It is a balancing act for sure, and both worldwide and in our country has tipped on both sides of the fence over differing matters. From barking dogs to owning guns, from prohibition or blue laws to abortions the question is always present.
A big part of that question, however, is over simple control vs the "good of society"; virtually all efforts at mere control (very common) are claimed to be for the "good" of everyone...with "good" being defined by the one wishing to control others.
Yes, a lot of it comes down to “Social Values” defined as “A set of moral principles defined by society”. Periodically Parliament and the Courts in the UK will redefine the ‘morale values’ in law to reflect changing British attitudes to Morale and Social Issues over time.
Example in British Society where moral and social attitudes have change over time include:-
#1. Back in the 1970’s most British people thought that homosexuality was immoral, whereas these days most British people don’t.
#2. Decades ago blood sports was considered socially acceptable in Britain, but as attitudes changed, so did the law e.g. fox hunting being made illegal in 2004.
Particularly #1 is a problem for me, for I don't see this as much a moral issue as one of control. Morality does not include, IMO, forcing others to do as I think they should when their actions have no impact on me.
Yep, in reference your comment “forcing others to do as I think they should when their actions have no impact on me.”
Prior to the 1967 homosexual acts between two consenting adults was a criminal offence in Britain, even though their actions had no impact on others. So Gays were forced to conform to Society (and hide their true self), or risk imprisonment; even though the actions of gays had no impact on other people in society.
The most famous case in modern British History being Alan Turing, who although played a major role in Britain’s Victory against Hitler during the 2nd world war, was subsequently prosecuted by the British for being Gay, and ended up committing suicide at the age of 41.
Alan Turing’s family fights to correct a historical injustice https://youtu.be/vkoPHkTRsEo
Likewise, from the 16th century until recent times people were persecuted for their religious beliefs in Britain and Ireland; just two examples of the consequences of that religious persecution in Britain being:-
• The Irish civil war in the 1920’s (the fight against suppression of Irish Catholics by Protestant English), and
• The failed attempt by Guy Fawkes (Catholic) to blow-up Parliament and kill King James I (Protestant Rule).
Who Was Guy Fawkes? https://youtu.be/v0zlMSmUXc4
Whereas in contrast to our British History. In today’s British Society people don’t care if you’re gay or what religious faith you may have, if any; as long as you don’t foist yourself and your views on others.
Religion, of course, has always been a major player in the efforts to force others into a moral mold they do not wish to join. It has, after all, maintained that the church is the sole creator of all (proper) moral codes. There are others, but they pale beside religion.
Nor has it stopped; certainly the US has many religious factions desiring to force "proper" behavior onto others, behavior which does not impact the controlling people at all. And isn't the old catholic vs protestant struggle still alive in the UK, albeit without the extreme violence of the past?
Good question wilderness.
Britain (excluding Northern Ireland) has in recent decades (since the 1970’s) become a Secular State.
In 2016, 53% of the British Population had ‘no religion’; a trend that has been rising since the 1960’s and still rising.
In 2016, only 14% of the British population were Church of England (Anglican/Protestant), and less than 10% Catholic.
2019 marked 190 years since Britain’s Parliament passed the Catholic Relief Act of 1829, which removed the last traces of virtually all anti-Catholic laws which had been enforced since the reign of Elizabeth I.
The ‘Succession to the Crown Act of 2013’ removed the last trace of anti-Catholic law when it repealed the ‘Royal Marriages Act of 1772’; thus now allowing the succession to the Throne to marry a Catholic if they so wish.
The only trace of any prejudice against Catholics in Britain, that I can find, is the fact that 26 seats in the House of Lords is reserved for Anglican (Protestant) bishops; and interestingly, although Britain is now a ‘Secular’ country, it’s also the only country in the world (other than Iran) to ring-fence seats in its legislature for clerics.
However, Northern Ireland is a different matter.
Unlike Britain (England, Scotland and Wales) where over 53% of the population have ‘no religion’, in Northern Ireland 93% of the population are religious:-
In Northern Ireland 48% are Protestant, and 45% are Catholics.
So certainly, in Northern Ireland, the Old Catholic vs Protestant struggle is still very much alive, and potentially as violent as ever. Currently, since the signing of the Northern Ireland Peace Treaty (Good Friday Agreement) in 1998 there has been an uneasy peace, very fragile, and there are fears that Brexit may re-spark the violence.
Peace in Northern Ireland, But Religious Divide Remains: https://youtu.be/j48XwoTeFC4
Wow - 93% Christian! I had no idea it was that strong!
Sad, isn't it, that people everywhere find it necessary to force their religious beliefs on others whenever they can get away with it. After hundreds of years of suffering and violence we are still seeing the same thing.
I understand the goals of organized religion, wanting more power and more "filthy lucre" in the collection plate, but what is the excuse of the people themselves for wishing to control others so badly?
I can understand the conflict in Northern Ireland (when you understand their history); and of course King Henry VIII was instrumental in the divisions between Catholic and Protestants in England when in 1532 he made himself the ‘Head of the Church’ in England, rather than it being controlled by the Pope from Rome (just so that he could get a divorce and re-marry, which was prohibited under Roman Catholic Rule).
In answer to you last point: “….what is the excuse of the people themselves for wishing to control others so badly?” Why some people seek to control others, is something beyond my understanding because I’m not that type of person. The only thing I can think of is the thrill and excitement they get from it e.g. ‘Control Freaks’, Megalomanias, Narcissists etc.
Certainly many, if not most, World Leaders (but not all) have a desire for ‘power’ & ‘control’ to varying degrees. Most people have no desire for Leadership, and much prefer to follow, unfortunately all too often blindly.
I’m not a natural born leader, I much rather leave that to others e.g. let them take the responsibility and make the decisions; and I will give them my support (to varying degrees) if I agree with them.
However, I am not averse to taking on responsibility of a leading role, if it’s thrust upon me, as it was during my last ten years in the civil service because of my skill sets. Likewise, in my formative years in the civil service there was a period where I felt it was my duty to take on a leading role as a Trade Union Activist. Both experiences, although out of my comfort zone, I enjoyed at the time, but they are not experiences that I would naturally seek if given a free choice.
To want to have control and have power over others, isn’t for me, I’d much rather be at home doing my own thing e.g. gardening and DIY etc., and leave it to others to lead.
Yep, that's how I like my gardening: ‘Leisurely’.
When I was working I only had the weekends, evenings and paid leave for gardening, DIY and the family etc. Taking paid leave, in combination with credit time I’d saved up from flexible working, as well as our usual two weeks holiday in France, and a week holiday in England, I used to take a couple of weeks paid leave over Easter for gardening and DIY, and another four weeks off work late summer for some major DIY Project.
Even so, to squeeze the gardening in I chose plants for the flower borders that look after themselves, and require little maintenance e.g. shrubs, climbers and perennials etc., and adopted the Elizabethan style of vegetable growing which requires less maintenance and is environmentally friendly.
Consequently, I only needed an aggregate average of two days a week to maintain our garden over the summer months, which in those days was from April to September; but with Climate Change it’s from March to October these days and increasingly edging towards November as the end of the summer season e.g. still harvesting tomatoes and runner beans etc, well into the late autumn/early winter when traditionally they would have died back.
Our back garden is quite large for an urban garden in Britain: 30ft wide by 100 feet long at the back and 30ft wide by 20ft long in the front.
So now I’m retired, with theoretically more time on my hands, I can potter around the garden rather than slave in it e.g. work at a leisurely pace in the sunshine, and have plenty of coffee breaks to admire the fruits of my labour, and watch the wildlife; and lunchtime sit by the wildlife pond (with its water features) with a ploughman’s lunch and a pint of homebrew beer.
It’s a good excuse to be outside in the good weather, and still be productive: with the bonus that we save $600 a year on our food bill with all the organic fruit and veg I harvest from our garden.
Aren´t all people in the Northern Hemisphere welcoming springtime in May with some kind of a tradition?
All over Germany we are setting up Maypoles. The extra trick is to steal the Maypole from neighbouring communities. Leads to the installation of Maypole guards. The only trade currency is alcoholic beverages to get back a stolen Maypole.
A video from Austria on logistics and technology to set up a Maypole:
In these times of climate change some folksongs about May and trees with green leaves may have to be rewritten to April.
Yep, you are right; the first video in my post above, which gives a brief overview of it's history (worldwide) does cover that point.
I love your Austrian video.
Very good point about Climate Change; I grow all of our vegetables (except potatoes) in our back garden, and in recent years the growing season (for summer crops) where I live in south west England has certainly shifted considerably e.g. it's use to be April to September, now it's from March until October.
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