Monday, April 30, 2012

This May Day post of mine from 2009 includes a very timely clarifying note for anyone who happens to be stranded on a tropical island (Katherine de Chevalle, this means you)


Here is a photo taken in 1907 of May Day festivities in Maryland.


More information about May Day than you ever thought possible can be found in this article from Wikipedia, including May Day’s relationship to Walpurgis Night and Morris dancing and the May Queen and the Maypole (not to be confused with the Walpole) and even International Workers’ Day.

For example, what happens in Finland? “In Finland, Walpurgis Night is, along with New Year’s Eve and Midsommar, the biggest carnival-style festivity, taking place in the streets of Finland’s towns and cities. The celebration is typically centered on plentiful use of sparkling wine and other alcoholic beverages...From the end of the 19th century, this traditional upper class feast has been co-opted by students attending university, already having received their student cap. [Activities] include the capping of the Havis Amanda, a nude female statue in Helsinki, and the biannually alternating publications of ribald matter called Äpy and Julkku by students of the University of Technology. Both are sophomoric...”

One can only assume the article means both publications of ribald matter, not both students of Finland’s University of Technology.

In Scotland, at St. Andrews, some of the students gather on the beach late on April 30 and run into the North Sea at sunrise on May Day, occasionally naked. This is accompanied by torchlit processions and much elated celebration.

In Hawaii, May Day is also known as Lei Day. I will pause while you make up your own joke.

If you read too far in that Wikipedia article, you will learn of many lewd and lascivious connotations surrounding the celebrations of May Day as well, but I’m not going to help you find them. You’ll have to ferret them out for yourself. Instead, I leave you with this example of Morris dancing.


It must have been really difficult to find six men named Morris.

Note. It is also noteworthy to note that yelling “May Day” is not an international signal of distress. Yelling “m’aidez” (“help me” in French) is an international signal of distress.

7 comments:

Shooting Parrots said...

I'm led to believe that May Day is a significant day here in Vegas which the locals celebrate by playing gambling games, something that is completely out of character for them.

Katherine said...

"In Scotland, at St. Andrews, some of the students gather on the beach late on April 30 and run into the North Sea at sunrise on May Day, occasionally naked. This is accompanied by torchlit processions and much elated celebration."

Is this the bit I'm supposed to be able to relate to?

Sounds like an everyday on my island, sans torches and processions. Although I am elatedly celebrating.

Yorkshire Pudding said...

Workers of the world, unite and fight! You have nothing to lose but your chains!

rhymeswithplague said...

Shooting Parrots, how disheartening to learn that Las Vegas's locals are every bit as decadent as its tourists.

Katherine, no, the bit you were supposed to relate to was to refrain from yelling "May Day! May Day" and to yell "M'aidez! M'aidez!" instead. But thank you for the lovely mental image I now have of you running naked into the sea, elatedly celebrating.

Yorkshire Pudding, methinks you are a Socialist, perhaps with Marxist leanings. No wonder you like our President Obama so much.

Yorkshire Pudding said...

Actually, I never found the Marx Brothers particularly amusing. And I'm not a socialIST, I'm a socialITE! But you're right about President Obama - a very likeable chap as far as politicians go.

Elisabeth said...

Putz led me here. I had no idea that MayDay was a significant festival other than a religious one. We don't celebrate it in Australia as far as I know, but it seems others throughout the world do.

It's good to meet you and your blog.

rhymeswithplague said...

Elisabeth, thank you for coming to my blog. I have just read your last five posts. They are fascinating; I think I shall be returning often to read what you have written, but so many others leave comments that mine would be superfluous.

Putz is often incomprehensible but I have developed an affection for him that cannot be explained. His family does not like him to blog, so he has pretty much stopped posting altogether. Sometimes he drops by here and leaves a comment.

If (as you state in your profile) you enjoy fictional autobiography, you might like this.