American Elephants


More Than You Wanted to Know About May Day: by The Elephant's Child

It came to my attention that President Obama issued a Presidential Proclamation today, to proclaim that this is Loyalty Day, 2013. Huh? I had never heard of Loyalty Day, but it appears that it began in the Eisenhower administration. How could I have missed it? Presidents issue a proclamation every year. It’s a presidential thing. But let’s go back a little:

May Day in many cultures has marked the beginning of spring, a half-year from  All Hallows, celebrating the bringing back of the light, moving the cattle out to the fields, having a big bonfire and parading the cattle around the bonfire decorated with bright yellow may flowers. The Celtic countries called it Beltane, in Germany it was pretty much the same thing except called Walpurgisnacht after an English missionary named Walpurgis, also bonfires and celebration.

Just where and when it became a May Day celebration with maypoles and baskets of flowers, I’m not sure. (I checked with Wikipedia, but didn’t pay too close attention).

mayday1911

mayday

In small towns, young people made little may baskets filled with flowers and hung them from a friend’s front door, then rang the bell and ran away, leaving the basket a mystery. That’s all pretty tame, and when the Soviet Union began to take over May Day to show off their military might and their solidarity, maypoles began to seem a little wimpy. Besides those Soviet parades were annoying.

May Day Soviet

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