May Day!

This year’s May Day, held in our very own town center, was full of many festivities. Between the massive craft sale, parade, farmers market and an additional wide array of activities, this year’s May Day was just as successful as the ones that came before it. 

Though, successful in what? I found that many people had no clue what May Day even was, and neither did I. I thought it was just an interesting celebration our town did to give its residents something to look forward to. However, it has a rather interesting history behind it! Typically, May Day is celebrated in Europe, on the first of May and is a celebration of Spring’s return. It has been believed to have its origin in ancient agricultural rituals. It’s history can even be traced back to Greece and Rome!

There are many ways to celebrate May Day, including the gathering of wild flowers, the “crowning” of May Day royalty, the flower crowns and the maypole. The maypole originated as a decorated tree, which later became a pole with a multitude of ribbons attached. Around the maypole, people would, and still, dance! These dances were conducted to ensure fertility.

There were many superstitions surrounding this celebration, such as the idea that washing yourself with spring dew would beautify the skin. Because of superstitions like this one, England’s Puritans deemed this holiday pagan and denied people the right to celebrate. Yet here in Kennebunk, we celebrate May Day in full force, using the ribbons similar to those on the maypole to decorate our community. It is also more commonly known for another historical aspect, and is often overshadowed by this  meaning. May Day is also a remembrance day for the worker and labor groups. This was dictated in commemoration of the Chicago Haymarket Riots of 1886. 

No matter its meaning, the May Day held within our community was a large success, and played a significant role in creating an enjoyable environment for all who attended. Next year, take some friends. I would definitely recommend it!