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May Day – Traditions Around the World


The 1st of May does not seem like a special time to many people, but it actually stands as a holiday with ancient roots. Though it is also a Labor Day holiday for parts of the world, there are multiple types of celebrations for the day, often involving social activities outside the home with the community.  It’s a lesser known, yet equally fantastical holiday.

Here’s how people celebrate May Day around the world:

_95854104_danmosley20170501000348002United Kingdom: Dancing around the maypole is just a thing that will happen.  Embrace it, love it, and join it. Also, a May Queen will be crowned. Who is the May Queen, you ask? Why, she represents all that is good, true, and wholesome for the May Day Holiday.

Outside of these things, part of the UK, such as Scotland, will have wild and somewhat volatile bonfires involving dancing, music, and occasional nudity throughout the night. Generally known as the Beltane Fire Festival, it’s from age-old Celtic traditions.

Finland: May Day is a drinking day for the Finnish – adults and students alike. A favorite staple drink is a mead, also known as “Sima.”  Have a look as this strange concoction that screams “tradition!”

May DayGermany: Aside from typical bonfires and maypoles, Germany hosts a secret admirers (or haters) event for May Day.  There are a few ways this can be done, but a common method is to use chalk to draw a line between your house and your crush’s house, linking you destinies forever (until rain). We touched on unique traditions Germany has for certain holidays over the course of the year – click here for a list of interesting ways Germany celebrates May Day!

Bulgaria: Through hushed whispers on the internet, you can find vague information on irminden, a May Day event where Bulgarians steer clear of the fields for fear of snake bites and generally use whatever methods possible to banish reptiles away from them.


May Day

Hawaii: And you thought the USA didn’t acknowledge May Day?  Take a look at this! The Lei Queen will be chosen, similar to a May Queen — only she must possess skills of hula, language, lei-making, and general charisma to stand against the opposition. Long live the Lei Queen!

There’s more where this came from, and we were happy to shed a bit of light on this lightly-touched upon holiday. So next year, when it comes around, find a maypole, build a bonfire, crown a May (or Lei) Queen, and scare snakes and lizards away with all of your might. Then, and only then, will you fully understand May Day.