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Why May Day Is Still Celebrated To This Very Day

Jul 18, 2008
May Day can be celebrated this year by sending a free e-card to anyone of your choice. The best part is that these e cards are totally free.

May Day is another of many celebrations descending from the traditions of the Celts, who inhabited much of Northern Europe, and their adaptation by other cultures. One of four major festivals of the Celtic year, Beltane, as it is most commonly referred to in English, fell on the first of May and was commemorated as the climax of spring, with emphasis on rebirth and reveling in the florid beauty of the season.

The Roman Floralia adopted many of the customs of May Day, particularly the rite of passage into adulthood, that is, entering into child-bearing unions on the last several nights of April, inviting the season of fertility not just into their lives, but also their bodies.

May 1st also doubles as International Labor Day, declared such by the International Socialist Congress in 1889, on which workers around the world rally to promote workers rights and fair trade practices that improve the daily lives of workers as well as the quality of the products and services they provide, thus increasing the longevity and success of a business.

Historically, May Day has often been the date and setting for strikes and other organized bargaining of hard-fought demands such as an eight-hour working day, overtime benefits, equal pay for women, job security, adequate wages, and other stipulations vital for conducting one's work under humane conditions. Unfortunately, human rights are often exchanged for the sake of profit, so during the late 19th century and since, May Day has been the time and place to voice concerns over the treatment and compensation of laborers.

The fertility rituals of May Day were abolished in 1644 by the Puritans, along with the Celt custom of jumping through ceremonial bonfires in the nude for physical purification. The Catholic Church also condemned the celebration. Another prominent but out-dated custom was for women to wash themselves in the pure May Day dew, again to cleanse themselves and invite spring to infiltrate their bodies and spirits.

May Day today sees little of the excitement of the garlands of beautiful flowers, floral headpieces, colorful clothing, ribbons, animal masks and costumes, fires, dancing, and revelry associated with Beltane. Rather, dancing around the maypole as a symbol of a group's unity has been largely relinquished to schoolchildren, many of whom continue to have official May Day celebrations within their schools, complete with the coronation of the May Queen and King.

Celebrate May Day by dressing yourself up in some bright colors, or handing out freshly picked flowers to your family members, co-workers, or schoolmates as reminders of the natural cycle.

International Labor Day has many commemorative options, including discussions of current labor issues with a cross-section of your community, attending rallies, speeches, and learning about the efforts of the labor movements throughout history to learn about the changes, or lack thereof, in how business, commerce, and industry respond to the needs of their workforce.

Originally the maypole was a tree that had been reared in the forest and ceremonially cut and placed in the center of a village or settlement. The trees were typically willows, which also became symbolic of May Day.

Millions of free e-cards are sent each year. This year you too could get in on the act, and send someone special a free e-card. E cards truly are the fast, affordable way of thanking people in the 21St century.
About the Author
Andrew Gibson is MD of Greeting-Cards.com. It has thousands of free ecards to choose from for birthdays and all occasions. Many people now send Free e-cards to celebrate May Day and select them from http://www.Greeting-Cards.com
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