Reminder more or less that May 1 is the International Worker’s Day and early American labor rights protesters initiated it. It’s an American tradition – not a Communist tradition. And it’s a pagan tradition from the dawn of time.
I hope you all had a great May Day. As I post this it’s still May 1 from the CDT zone westward. For those who saw the original post, you can just skip it or get refreshed. For those who haven’t seen it, it has some interesting background on the history of the day.
Herewith, a recycled essay:
A lot of Americans have apparently been brainwashed during their formative years. Especially the crowd over at the site that shall not be named. The vast majority associate the first day of the month of May as a Soviet Communist celebration day. Then again a sizable number of Uhmericans think Saddam Hussein was complicit in the 9/11 atrocities. Oh, and the wiretapping started after 9/11 and not like late February or early March of 2001.
May first was a holiday before there was a May. It’s a cross-quarter day. That means it falls about halfway between a solstice and an equinox. Back before keyboards, laser mice and high-speed internet connections people used to notice these things. The only thing that emitted light, besides fire, was in the sky. You can check out the sky anytime. Just click here. Cool, huh? And you didn’t have to let go of your mouse to do it.
So back in the days of stone knives and bearskins, and I’m not talking about the Star Trek episode where Spock and McCoy have to build a time-machine thingie with 1930s tech, or even the dark ages of eight bit processors, RAM limits of 65536 bytes and machine code, I’m talking real stone and real bear. Hell, sabre-tooth tiger and wooly mammoth times. Back when chipped flint was high-tech. In the time of neo-pagans (not to be confused with the neopaganists of today).
Together with the solstices and equinoxes (Yule, Ostara, Midsummer, and Mabon), these form the eight solar holidays in the neopagan wheel of the year. They are often celebrated on the evening before the listed date, since traditionally the new day was considered to begin at sunset rather than at midnight.
Festival name Date Sun’s Position
Samhain 1 Nov (alt. 5-10 Nov) ? 15° ?
Imbolc 2 Feb (alt. 2-7 Feb) ? 15° ?
Beltane 1 May (alt. 4-10 May) ? 15° ?
Lughnasadh 1 Aug (alt. 3-10 Aug) ? 15° ?
There are Christian and secular holidays that correspond roughly with each of these four, and some argue that historically they originated as adaptations of the pagan holidays, although the matter is not agreed upon. The corresponding holidays are:
* St.Brigids Day (1 Feb), Groundhog Day (2 Feb), and Candlemas (2 or 15 Feb)
* Walpurgis Night (30 Apr) and May Day (1 May)
* Lammas (1 Aug)
* Halloween (31 Oct), All Saints (1 Nov), and All Souls’ Day (2 Nov)
Groundhog Day is celebrated in North America. It is said that if a groundhog comes out of his hole on 2 February and sees his shadow (that is, if the weather is good), there will be six more weeks of winter. February 2nd marks the end of the short days of winter. Because average temperatures lag behind day length by several weeks, it is (hopefully) the beginning of the end of winter cold.
It’s been Groundhog Day in Iraq for five years now. But who’s counting?