Lessons in the "MayDay" Category

May Day celebrations in Europe

Today, let’s talk about how May Day is celebrated in some parts of Europe. For many, it is a traditional workers' holiday.

In Greece, one of the more popular activities on May Day is fire jumping. This is done after the sun sets. Women dance around the lit fire. The children wet their clothes and hair, before jumping over the fire. It is a symbolic act, to keep away winter and disease. Another popular tradition is picking flowers, and creating a May Day wreath, to hang on their doors. It is meant to bring people closer to nature.

In France, May Day is really a day off for its workers. French people like to give family and friends little sprigs, bouquets, or even whole plants of lily of the valley, for good luck. The more bell-like the flower, the better the luck.

Celebrating May Day in Britain

May Day traditions in Britain include Morris dancing, the crowning of the May Queen and Maypole dancing.

Morris dancers normally perform on May Day. These are men wearing folk costumes and bell pads on their shins. They use sticks, swords and handkerchiefs that maybe wielded by the dancers during their dance.

The May Queen is a girl who must ride or walk at the front of a parade for May Day celebrations. She wears a white gown to symbolise purity and usually wears a tiara or crown. She is generally crowned by flowers and makes a speech ahead of any dancing taking place.

Celebrating May Day in Britain

May Day traditions in Britain include Morris dancing, the crowning of the May Queen and Maypole dancing.

Morris dancers normally perform on May Day. These are men wearing folk costumes and bell pads on their shins. They use sticks, swords and handkerchiefs that maybe wielded by the dancers during their dance.

Category: May Day / Tradition / Britain