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Celebrating May Day

Updated on May 1, 2019

Maypole Dancing on Village Green

Copyright by Paul Barnett Creative Commons 2.0
Copyright by Paul Barnett Creative Commons 2.0 | Source

May Day Is A Holiday That Dates Back to the Celts of Western Europe

May Day is a traditionn which dates back to the pre-Christian Celts of western Europe. Originally, May Day was an ancient pagan holiday celebrating the start of summer. In Gaelic traditions, it is known as Beltaine or Beltane.

The Celtic May Day honored deities of the natural world with traditions that are still practiced by some people today. Even though this is an ancient tradition, different groups have adapted the celebration to their specific cultures or beliefs.

Some people still celebrate May Day.. Will you? Please share if and how you celebrate this day in the Comments below.

May Day is a traditional holiday in many cultures. Many May Day revelers celebrate the season by dancing around a wooden May pole. It's an old Celtic custom which symbolizes Spring and the fertility of nature.

Weaving The Ribbons

Weaving: Verna Gates, a Special Instructor at the University of Alabama in Birmingham, tells us that, just as we do today, the ancient Celts would tie strips of cloth to the top of the May pole, weaving the fabric into braids as they danced.

"Weaving was a very important aspect of the May celebrations. You would weave the ribbons because you can take two strands of something and make another element out of it. And that's what you were doing in fertility was taking two and making three. And so they would dance around the may pole and some said that that was a time of courtship. You didn't marry in May, but you started the courtship in May and you married at Halloween."

Celebrate May Day

Enjoy May Day by doing something that gives you great pleasure. Try to be outdoors all day if you can. Let your natural joy find its best outlet!

May Day Plan

Will you celebrate May Day?

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May Day festivities, Forest Glen, Md.

[Washington, D.C. : Leet Bros., c1907] Medium: 1 photographic print : cyanotype. H95269 U.S. Copyright Office.
[Washington, D.C. : Leet Bros., c1907] Medium: 1 photographic print : cyanotype. H95269 U.S. Copyright Office. | Source

Rituals of May Day

Ritual helps us deal with the chaos of life.

Dancing Around the May Pole

Have you ever danced around a May Pole?

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Dance Around The Maypole

"We forget that they believed in tree spirits. When you say knock on wood, that's an old, old Celtic custom that says 'tree spirit, come out and give me luck.' And they very much believed in the power of these tree spirits and it was quite a ritual to the young men to go out and collect the tree and to bring it back and to decorate it. And they would have a very structured dance around the May pole."

~~Jim Metzner, from Pulse of the Planet, presented by the American Museum of Natural History

Vanessa Redgrave - The Lusty Month of May - From the musical film Camelot

This is the song "The Lusty Month of May" from the 1967 musical film "Camelot" starring Richard Harris as King Arthur with Vanessa Redgrave as the beautiful Queen.

Camelot celebrates its 45th anniversary with the Blu-ray debut on April 24th, 2012.

Camelot With Richard Harris And Venessa Redgrave - Blu-ray 1967

"so corny you've got to love it" Rich Cline

This medieval tale recounts the story of King Arthur who seeks to establish a peaceful state by gathering together a force of knights. It's the story of the marriage of England's King Arthur to Guinevere. This feature won Academy Awards for Best Costume Design, Best Art Direction and Best Musical Score, as well as garnishing nominations for Best Sound and Best Cinematography.

Camelot celebrated its 45th anniversary with the Blu-ray debut on April 24th, 2012.

Month of May

"The advent of the merry month of May was a time of great celebration, when summer was welcomed by men blowing on cow-horns. Girls rose early to bathe their faces in the May morning dew, which was held to have curative and beauty properties. Blankets soaked in May dew were thought to be able to cure sick children wrapped in them. Wells were able to grant wishes on May Day. ... (But) Fairies are abroad today so don't leave your baby unattended lest it be kidnapped and replaced by a changeling." ~

May Day

Fairies are abroad today so don't leave your baby unattended lest it be kidnapped and replaced by a changeling. ~Brian Day


Do You Believe in Fairies?

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Return of the Sun:

"Beltain is the third and last of the spring festivals. It is a Cross-quarter day, marking the midpoint in the Sun's progress between the Vernal Equinox and Summer Solstice. The astronomical date for this midpoint is slightly later, around May 5 depending on the year."

Beltain - All Saints' Day

May Day is exactly a half-year from November 1. In the traditions of Northern and Western Europe, All Saints' Day marks the end of the uncomfortable winter half of the year in the Northern hemisphere. This day "has always been an occasion for popular and often raucous celebrations, regardless of the political or religious establishment."

Celtic Holiday of Beltain

Do you celebrate Beltain?

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May Day With Children

May Day Is Celebrated In Hawaii As Lei Day

This book explains how this May Day is celebrated in England, where it originated over 700 years ago and describes how Hawaii came to embrace it as Lei Day and how local customs commemorate Hawaii's royal history. Beautiful photographs show how this day is celebrated throughout Hawaii.

"...children's book exploring the Hawaiian tradition of Lei Day, springing from the English Tradition of May Day. Showing the wide range of activities and their meaning on this annual Hawaiian event, "May Day & Lei Day" is a charming book." ~Midwest Review


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