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Happy May Day!

MaypoleThis year, the customary spring ritual falls on Sunday, May 1, 2015.

Modern May Day celebrations have evolved into a hodgepodge of traditions including parties, sing-alongs, Old World maypole dancing, parades and workers' demonstrations, along with general protests against Big Business on the streets of major capitals worldwide.

And just for a little contrast, in Hawaii it's ... Lei Day.

May Day 2016 Worldwide

May Day 2016 NYC Union Square

May Day 2016 in London

May Day 2016 in Paris

All about May Day

Historians generally agree that May Day celebrations probably originated in the spring fertility rites of ancient Rome, which occurred at about the same time of year marking celebrations honoring the goddess of spring, Flora.

By the Middle Ages, the day was being celebrated with a procession led by a "Queen of the May" chosen from a population of pretty teen girls, followed by the townspeople dancing around a maypole decorated with streamers and colorful spring flowers.

Pilgrims later brought May Day to America, but Puritans cut down the neighborhood maypole and were quick to condemn the tradition as "that Stinking Idol reviving feasts of ye Roman goddess Flora or ye beastly practices of ye mad Bacchanalians". (They also cancelled Christmas.)

By the late 19th century, May Day was taken up in America as a socialist movement celebrating workers' rights.

Today, the May Day tradition remains even stronger in Europe or wherever else people hope to gain more leverage against unfair employment practices.

The Occupy Wall Street movement also protests against the "1%" establishment and in recent years has grown to include May Day rallies.

Meanwhile, on the Internet, Anonymous has gained notoriety for a series of May Day denial-of-service attacks against government and corporate sites.

This year, Anonymous has also called for a 2015 May Day global strike among workers and students, as well as a consumer boycott on banking and shopping, to show the world that "it is nothing without the 99%".

For more information, check out what else is happening on May Day this year around the world and on the Web...

More information about May Day around the Web:

May Day
- How it all started, including typical May Day events & celebrations worldwide with related photos and resoures, from Wikipedia.

May Day Origins - Nicely written and researched background on historical meanings and symbolism, and check out the earliest known depiction of a maypole in stained glass ...

The Incomplete, True, Authentic and Wonderful History of MAY DAY - Good read with historic woodcuts & illustrations depicting the riotous history of workers' rights. Excellent starting point for any research paper on the topic with author's notes.

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