Sunday, May 1, 2011

May Day

May Day. This holiday isn't important in the US, but widely observed in European countries. We arrived in Germany on May 1st a few years ago and saw Maypoles in almost every village.

I grew up Catholic and memories of May Day involved church and a procession of children strewing flower pedals followed by clergy carrying a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary. May was observed as her month. I don't know how far back that tradition goes, but remember learning the Catholic church emphasized the Marion holiday to counteract Communist observance of May 1st. That was the day the soviets paraded their armaments in Red Square.

May Day has a long history and was a pagan celebration of spring in pre-Christian times. Roman culture observed it as a holiday to the pagan goddess of flowers. Druids celebrated springs arrival. In the 19th century a focus on laborers observing it began. Remember Karl Marx and "workers of the world unite"? It is still a labor day in many countries.

I found some local observances for May Day. There is an Immigration March for Emancipation. Don't think we will do that. Minneapolis has a parade in one neighborhood park. No doubt wiccans or warlocks or Charlie Sheen are having another party. We are just going to go to church. I don't think there is anything special going on.

I will continue to think of May day, may day as an urgent call for help. That is the message you send when your ship is sinking. Perhaps saying may day, may day is getting more appropriate. Sure haven't heard too much good news in this country lately.

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