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Happy May Day

#1 · Posted: 1 May 2007 04:28
Hello, everyone and happy May Day to all Tintinologists out there. Well, i was curious to know is there a May Day holiday in other countries cause my country put 1 May as Labour Day, an public holiday for workers.
#2 · Posted: 1 May 2007 12:08 · Edited by: tuhatkauno
Thanks and same to you

May Day is a holiday in Finland. 1 st of May is a day of trade unionists, socialists and communists, marching, speeches and things like that, as you said, Labour day. But it is also a day of students (secondary school gratuate) and boozing. To be precise: the Great Boozing Day is 30 th of April and 1 st of May is the Big Hangover Day for both left wingers and students. If you are a graduated capitalist you probably have an awful hangover as well. That's the name of the game here in north. :-)

The roots of May Day are in history in Finland as well, first it was a celebration of coming of Summer (as Balthazar noticed). In 19 th century Finland was under the domination of Russia. The nationalism raised especially among students and May Day was related to students and nationalism. In the beginning of 20 th century a left-wing movement was very strong, so strong that we had a civil war in 1918. The May Days were tense, hot and red. They were very political til 80's, president Kekkonen's death and USSR's collapsing changed the things, and nowadays 1 st of May is just a carneval day and some red memories.
#3 · Posted: 1 May 2007 12:59 · Edited by: Balthazar
We do have a May Day public/bank holiday here in the UK, but because UK public and bank holidays are nearly always on a Monday, it happens on the first Monday after May the 1st. So this year, our May Day holiday is this coming Monday (May the 7th), rather than today.

As in most of the world, I think, May Day in the UK does have some connotations with left-wing rallies, but it's never been called Labour Day here, and I think I'm right in saying that it wasn't made an official public holiday here, for workers or anyone else, until the 1990s (after socialism had ceased to be much of a genuine threat to the authorities!)

In Britain, May Day has much, much older traditions than those of 20th Century socialism - traditions derived from pre-Christian paganism, which are about the coming of Summer, fertility, and crop planting. I'm not an expert, but I think in medieval times, it used to be a day of fun and bachanalia for the agricultural peasants, with a lot of dancing, drinking and a certain amount of free-for-all fornication in the fields. I think the puritans clamped down on all the fornication in the 17th Century, but these folk traditions (and their earthy meanings) survive to this day in many British villages with May Queens, morris dancers, maypole dancing, flower parades etc. It varies between the different countries and regions of the UK.

I'd guess that similar May Day folk traditions exist right across Europe. Maybe the Soviet Union authorities were latching onto existing Russian folk traditions when they declared May Day a worker's holiday. But I'm only guessing here.

Here in Edinburgh, I think you're meant to welcome the dawn from the top of Arthur's Seat (a massive hill near the city centre) by washing your face in the early morning dew. (That's on the actual 1st of May, rather than on the public holiday Monday.) I might try it one year, if I can make myself get up early enough!

Anyway, happy May Day, tintinspartan!

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