Wednesday, May 3, 2017

May Day celebrations

Engraved on the Haymarket Monument:


Flowering Hawthorn, a symbol of May Day

May Day or workers day, pagan or anglicized, cultural or commercialized, historical or statutory - May 1 has symbolic significance for many. 

Beltane, celebrated on May 1, is one of four major Gaelic seasonal festivals. It marked the beginning of pastoral summer, when livestock were driven out to pasture. Rituals were celebrated to protect life from harm, both natural and supernatural, mainly with the symbolic use of fire.

All household fires would be doused and then re-lit from the Beltane bonfire. These gatherings were accompanied by a feast, with food and drink offered to the aos sí. Doors, windows, byres and the cattle themselves would be decorated with yellow May flowers.

In the late 19th century, May Day was chosen as the date for International Workers' Day by the Socialists and Communists of the Second International to commemorate the Haymarket affair in Chicago, International Workers' Day, also referred to as "May Day".

Current events under the reign of present day Trumpism have forced us to not take liberty and freedom for granted. History has a lot to teach us about the roots of our radicalism.

Over one hundred years have passed since that first May Day. In the earlier part of the 20th century, the US government tried to curb the celebration and further wipe it from the public's memory by establishing "Law and Order Day" on May 1.

Ancient Beltany Stone Circle

Yet another use for mayday is as a call for help and is the distress signal in voice procedure radio communications.

It is used to signal a life-threatening emergency primarily by aviators and mariners, but also local organizations such as firefighters, police forces, and transportation organizations.

The call is always given three times in a row ("Mayday Mayday Mayday") to prevent its being mistaken for some similar-sounding phrase or situation.

People fought for the rights and dignities we enjoy today, and there is still a lot more to fight for. The sacrifices of so many people can not be forgotten or we will end up fighting for those same gains all over again.

This is why we celebrate May Day - a holiday of rebirth and fertility. #alwaysremember

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