In Ancient Greece they celebrated the Festival of Chloris. She was the goddess of flowers and spring. The Ancient Romans also had a similar festival to honour the goddess Flora.
May Day is celebrated all over the world and in many countries it is an important holiday such as the United Kingdom, India, Romania, Sweden, and Norway.
In the 1900s May Day became a day to celebrate labour in many communist and socialist countries. They would celebrate the worker as well as the armed forces on this day. Later the day would become a Labour Day in many countries throughout the world.
In England May Day has a long history and tradition. The day is celebrated with music and dancing. Morris Dancers in England wear hats decorated with flowers, suspenders, and ankle bells. They stomp their feet, wave handkerchiefs, and bang sticks together when they dance. Perhaps the most famous part of the celebration is dancing around the Maypole. Children dance around the Maypole holding onto colorful ribbons. People use flowers and leaves to make hoops and hair garlands and a May Queen is also crowned on this day.
In Canada May Day is celebrated in some parts of the provinces of British Columbia, New Brunswick and Ontario. In British Columbia Celebrations don’t often take place May the 1st but during the Victoria Day long weekend. It’s later in the month when the weather is better. The longest continually observed May Day in the British Commonwealth is held in the city of New Westminster where the first May Day celebration was held on May 4, 1870
Some countries celebrate the night before May Day called Walpurgis Night. These countries include Estonia, Germany, Sweden and Finland. The celebration is named after an English missionary called Saint Walpurga. People celebrate with large bonfires and dancing.
Long ago in the Middle Ages the Gaelic people of Scotland and Ireland celebrated the festival of Beltane. Beltane means “Day of Fire”. They had large bonfires and dancing at night to celebrate. Some people are starting to celebrate Beltane again.
The history of May Day has changed a lot throughout history.