I remember running around a pole with ribbon as a child at school. Never really understood why…still don’t…I did some google searches about May Day and found out a few things but nothing that really stood out to me. However, I think I most identify with the historical celebration of summer on May 1st, especially considering the recent Carnival celebrations here on island. It is fitting for May 1st to roll in on the heels of our Carnival celebration. It’s been a month-long celebration in anticipation of summer. Well, I’m sure that is not the historical context for Carnival, but that’s exactly how it has felt to me.
So, back to May day celebrations, and what they mean to me. Well, usually I would welcome summer, that is when I was living in places like Illinois and Arkansas and even Georgia to some extent. If it had been a long, difficult dreary winter, followed by a rainy, windy spring, then May signaled the approaching summer of beautiful long days of fun and sun. I have only known the celebration of summer to be connected with the end of May and Memorial day celebrations, but nevertheless we always looked forward to May. However, now since I live on a tropical island, it’s felt like spring/summer the entire time I have been here so it doesn’t feel like a celebration of summer.
But of course there’s another meaning to Mayday! We know Mayday! Mayday! as a distress signal. A call for help. A signal that someone is in need. Honestly, I am thankful that this year I don’t have to call out that signal for help.
Do you see May day as a celebration of workers’ rights or as the start of summer or as Mayday! the distress call for help?