MAY DAY: it was a lusty day and now it’s a fight for your rights as a worker day. Which May Day definition resonates for you?
For the pre-Christian Druids the May Day holiday was known as Beltane, and it was a celebration of fertility. The Romans celebrated Flora, the Goddess of flowers the same day. When the Roman occupied the British Isles the two celebrations merged – maidens with wreaths of flowers in their hair dancing ‘round the May Pole, a symbol of verdant forests and fertility in general. The legendary Arthurian court of Camelot embraced the lusty month of May. Bright wild flowers bloomed and lured in pollinating bees – and like Cupids they dusted pollen across the land, ensuring a bountiful harvest by fall. This was the time to revel, replenish, and rejuvenate, so that in a few months there’d be foals, and lambs, and a cornucopia to harvest and stock to survive brutal winters. In the late 1800s the emphasis changed. The May Day holiday became International Workers Day, or Labor Day. Now on May Day in the USA workers rally and march to bring awareness to problems they’re facing. They rally together so that from the fruits of their labor will come bounty for themselves and more opportunities for future generations. Tomorrow, only a few miles from where I live, as many as 100,000 people may congregate in downtown Los Angeles to speak out about immigration issues and workers rights. But has the deepest core meaning of May Day really changed? It’s still about planting hope so that there’s a way to survive the tough times, and pave a better life for the children, the future generations. Myself, I’m attending the Los Angeles Festival of Books: dancing round the information pole to gain new insights, stimulate my imagination, and create something of substance – whether it’s what I bring to my day in and day out teaching, my Pilates retreats and holidays, and my own over all wellness. Isn’t that what most of us really want? How are you celebrating May Day? What nurturing is going on in your life?