May 1, 2018. May Day. Not the parade of the military armaments available to help destroy the capitalist oppressors of the working proletariat. Those days are hopefully and permanently part of our collective past. What we are commemorating today is the joyous triumph of the flowers over the gloom and drudgery of the wintry barrenness – the delight of color and vitality over the dreary and the drab. The renewal of life after a long and cold Winter. A celebration of life itself!
I remember during primary school, we always had a May Day Celebration that always ended with us students dancing around a maypole while weaving colored streamers down the pole. There was always a faun – a mythical creature of the forest intent on creating mischief – who attempted to sabotage the maypoles by tearing down the colorful and decorative streamers.
Unfortunately, I’m unable to remember how we ever prevented the school faun from destroying our class maypole. The mischief-maker was always an upperclassman from the intermediate school (early teen years) so I can’t imagine any of us primary schoolers even offering a serious defense of our handiwork.
One memory that I am absolutely certain about are the floral headbands and bouquets that we were forced to wear. Yes, they definitely added color and a festive ambiance to our celebration, however, they also attracted bees!
Fortunately, none of us ever got stung by any of our uninvited guests and luckily none of us were allergic to bee-venom. I don’t know if it was the faun or our dancing around the maypole that made the guests behave.
To the best of my knowledge, most May Day observances have fallen by the wayside. It is a pity as they were a very non-sectarian event to celebrate the wonders of Spring that totally lacked any spiritual significance. An innocuous activity that allowed children to be themselves and simply enjoy being alive.