Mayday, Mayday, Mayday!

Have you heard this popular saying on the first day of May before? It is actually a word that is used to signal distress. Yikes! Let’s get to learning a little bit more about May Day and why this phrase might be used.

Lots of Reasons to Celebrate

The exact reason for why May Day is a holiday is a bit confusing. Depending on what part of the world you live in, you might find yourself celebrating today for different reasons. Is it related to work or a new month and a warmer season?

May Day and the Labor Movement

Some believe that it actually was started because of the Labor Movement in 1886. On May 1st of that year, thousands of workers all across the United States went on strike to demand shorter working hours and better conditions for their workplaces. In the present day, May Day is then known as International Workers Day and as a day of labor solidarity. Workers often use this day as a reason to come together and demand better working conditions and fair pay. Some labor unions and other organizations for workers put on parades or other events to draw attention to improvements needed in the workplace.

May Day and the Start of Warmer Weather

In other countries, May Day is celebrated for a completely unrelated reason; it is known as a day of celebration for the start of spring/summer. People in these parts of the world choose to celebrate May Day with music, picnics, special outfits, and activities that take place outside.

So, it appears that the “Mayday” saying might not actually have a direct correlation to this day, despite many people still shouting it out on this particular day!

Making May Day Special

  • Make a May Basket! In some countries, people leave a basket with spring flowers and special treats on each other’s doorsteps. Usually, the giver of this basket leaves it anonymously. Some even yell out “May Basket” and then run away! Have your child make a paper basket full of paper flowers and leave it on someone’s porch to make their day. It’s up to them if they want to make a quick dash away or not!
  • Wash your face with dew. Huh? Yep! There are some popular superstitions that say washing your face with morning dew on this particular morning would bring good luck for the month of May. Head outdoors on a morning walk with your child and see if you can even get some dew sprinkles for good luck!
  • “Bring in the May”- Some choose to celebrate today by cutting flowers from outside and bringing in these beautiful treasures to decorate their houses.
  • If you’re leaning more towards May Day being a day to celebrate working conditions, have your child draw a picture and even write a poem describing the job they want to have when they grow up. What would make that job even better?

Whether you are using today to acknowledge equality in the workplace or as a fresh start to some warmer and brighter days, make it a May Day to remember!

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