• Daniel Tills in London

Happy May Day!

Updated: May 1

May 1st is traditionally celebrated as a spring holiday in the northern hemisphere, marked by dancing, singing and cake-eating and sometimes a day off work!

The earliest May Day celebrations began with pagan festivities celebrating the beginning of summer such as the Floralia - the ancient Roman festival of Flora, the goddess of flowers.

Traditional English May Day rites and celebrations may include the crowning of a 'May Queen' (with flowers) and street parties involving dancing with ribbons around a maypole. Historically, Morris dancing has also been linked to May Day celebrations. Many of these traditions derive from the pagan Anglo-Saxon customs held during "Þrimilci-mōnaþ" (the Old English name for the month of May meaning Month of Three Milkings) along with many Celtic traditions.

These days, in largely Christianised Europe, May Day has changed from a religious holiday into a more secular occasion, and many European countries have specific names and activities for the date. The holiday is also commonly referred to as 'Labour Day' or 'Worker's Day' in many regions, and usually given as a day off as a nod to the tradition of having a rest or festivity after spring seed-sowing was completed.

Cherry Blossom at Kew Gardens 2018 copyright White City Gallery London

In Japan, they have a traditional custom of enjoying the transient beauty of flowers called Hanami (花見, flower viewing) and the flowers (hana) are usually those of the cherry trees (sakura) as along with the chrysanthemum, the cherry blossom is considered the national flower of Japan. From the end of March to early May, cherry trees bloom all over the country.

#Beltane (Scotland / Ireland)

#Calendimaggio (Italy)

#Maios (Greece)

#Irminden (Bulgaria)

#LosMayos (Spain)

#OsMaios (Portugal)

#Arminden (Romania)

#LeiDay (Hawaii)

In the Czech Republic, loving couples have been kissing under a blooming cherry tree since the early 20th century on May 1st. As if we needed an excuse...

Enjoy this May Day YOUR WAY.

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