Sunday, May 1, 2011

My May Day

I still love May Day even at age 53. When I was a child there was a huge field of daffodils near my home that had spread into the woods and down into an abandoned apple orchard. The owner did not mind if we picked them so we often did. In years when it was not so warm the daffodils had finished blooming by May Day, I often would pick large bouquets of them and take them to the older lady who lived at the end of Elm lane as a May Day gift. I never thought of it as pagan of course or anything but a joyous celebration of the coming of summer. Many children's books still had stories about May poles and May baskets although in western NY in the 60s the holiday was fading. I am sure that is where I learned about May day. I understand that Clymer Central School still celebrates with a May Pole or did until very recently. That western, NY community was settled by Dutch people. When I think of the May Day celebrations in the Soviet Union I watched on TV as a child and teen, I cringe. It was the day the Soviets trotted out their most lethal weapons and paraded them in Moscow in the most threatening and ugly manner. I prefer the old meaning for May Day. I celebrate the return of summer and tradition. I do not want to see American labor associated in any way with this Soviet and Eastern Block celebration either. Labor is under fire from so many corners it does not need to be wed to a holiday celebrated with military might in communist Russia. I know there is a strong association with labor in much of Europe but we celebrate Labor at the end of summer on Labor Day so I prefer to keep May Day as a celebration of spring and the promise of summer. I love folklore and for me May Day is very special and is a celebration of life eternal.

May Pole Dance 1920

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