As a world-wide day of celebration, the first of May probably ranks second only to
New Year's day. Whereas everyone celebrates the New Year, albeit in different ways, May Day has many different customs depending on where in the world you live:
May Day - The first day of summer
Beltane - Cross quarter day. Half way between the Vernal Equinox and Mid-Summer solstice
Maypole dances in England
Walpurgis Night (Germany and Scandinavia). - Bonfires and devil worship
Hitler chose this night to commit suicide in 1945
Labor Day - China and Russia hold formal parades
(N.B. Labor day in USA is on first Monday in September)
While May Day is now considered to be 1st May (or May 1st), Beltane or Walpurgis starts on the last evening of April and ends on 1st May. There is evidence that at in ancient times pagan celebrations occurred on
the nearest full moon rather than the 1st of May. One thought that flashes through my mind is all the different drinks that people world-wide will use to toast May Day, for example beer in Bavaria
in Savonlinna (Finland), cider in Cornwall and mead in Merthyr (Wales).
May Day Jokes
Right Turn? Two yokels were driving to the next village's May Day Fair. They came
to a sign that said: May Day Fair Left. ... so they turned around and
went home! How to get to the fair A townie was looking for the May Day Fair, he stopped and asked Jethro.
'Will this road take me to the May Day Fair?' 'Oh no,' said Jethro.
'You'll have to go by yourself!' Fell off the back of a lorry - Guy's favourite May Day Joke Freddie was looking at the animals section at the May Fair when a dirty,
scruffy man came running in the opposite direction. He stopped and asked
Freddie, 'Have you seen a cart load of pigs go this way?' 'No', said
Freddie, 'Why did you fall off?' A Balloon Ride to Nowhere Norman decides to take a balloon ride on offer at the local May Day Fair.
The balloon and its customers drift along in the breeze, but eventually they are
lost. Norman has no idea where he is, so when the gondolier takes
the basket down to ten feet above ground he calls to a passer-by: 'Excuse me,
sir, can you tell me where I am?' After looking Norman up and down, the passer-by says: 'You are in a red
balloon, ten feet above ground.' The balloon's unhappy resident replied, 'You
must be a lawyer' 'How could you possible know that?' asked the passer-by. 'Because your answer
is technically correct but absolutely useless, and the fact is I am still lost'. 'Then you must be in management', said the passer-by. 'That's right! How did
you know?' 'You have such a good view from where you are, and yet you don't know
where you are and you don't know where you are going. The fact is you are in the
exact same position you were in before we met, but now your problem is somehow
my fault!' Footnote Please send us your funny May Day Jokes
Maypole (May Pole)
The Maypole is certainly a symbol of courtship, and in many celebrations, of fertility. On constant theme is a dance with one or more virgin girls at the center of the rituals. My favourite
celebrations is where the girls hold white ribbons, and dance clockwise, whereas the boys have red ribbons and dance counter-clockwise. The English county of Cornwall has a long history, and a rich
tradition of May pole dances, especially at Helston and Padstow. Morris Dancing Although Morris Dancing is practiced at other times of year it has a
special place in May Day celebrations. The ancient Morris Dance is of
Moorish origin, in this ritual the May-pole represents the May Queen and the man
on the hobby-horse represents the Moorish King. Other participants in the
traditional Morris Dance are the Fool, the Lesser Fool, the Franklin
(Gentleman), the Spaniard and a Friar. As they dance so the Morris Men
make music with bells on the legs and also by banging sticks with fellow Morris
Funny Jokes For May Day
A bus full of blind people on a May day outing stop at "The White Swan"
pub near Dorchester, Dorset, England. The coach driver asks if some of
the lads can have a game of football on the car park out the back. 'How can they do that?' asks Rory, the landlord. 'Seeing as they are
blind and all.' 'Well, it's quite easy,' says Alex, the driver. 'They have a special ball
with bells in so they can hear it.' Nothing much happens for fifteen minutes or so when all of a sudden all
hell breaks loose. Police cars, ambulances, fire engines, the lot! Policeman
rushes into the public bar. 'What on earth is going on?' asks Alex, the coach driver. 'We have had a report of a bunch of louts kicking a Morris dancer's head
around the car park.'
Move May Day Holiday?
With a little luck, it'll be too cold for Morris dancers!
The Solent Coastguard
'Mayday, Mayday, Mayday this is yacht Corporate Engineering Solutions,
Corporate Engineering Solutions, Corporate Engineering Solutions. Over.' 'Mayday this is Solent Coastguard. Can you give me your position sir.
Over.' 'Solent Coastguard this is yacht Corporate Engineering Solutions. I'm a
director in a small engineering company. Over.' See another funny May Day story.
The origin of Jack-in-the-Green can be traced to May Day celebrations in
general, and chimney sweeps in particular. There is even a suspicion
that Jack-in-the-Green goes back to the Normans and the Bayeux tapestry (see
right). Jack-in-the-Green has obvious associations with Robin Hood, and became a
central character in 16th Century English May Day celebrations. About 1830 the chimney sweeps took Jack-in-the-Green as their mascot for
their May Day parades. These sweeps made Jack-in-the-Green one of the most
noticeable and feared characters in May Day parades. However, by late Victorian times chimney sweeps were
in decline and moreover, the May Day celebrations became more sedate, for these
and other changes in fashion, Jack-in-the-Green died out. Until he was
resurrected in Whitstable, Kent in 1976, and then in Hastings, England by the Mad Jacks Morris Dancers in 1983.
The May Day bank holiday is used for traditional festivals such as the
Stilton Cheese rolling competition
May Day Poem
Round the maypole - round and round
Men and maids and children bound
Show'ring as they halt between
Honours on their May Day Queen.
A May Day Carol
Awake, awake, my pretty prithy maid,
Come out of your drowsy dream,
And step into your dairy hold,
And fetch me a bowl of cream
If not a bowl of cream, my dear,
A cup of meade to cheer,
the Lord and Lady know we shall meet again,
To go Maying another year.
A branch of May I brought you here,
While at your keep I stand,
'Tis but a sprout all budded out,
By the power of our Lady's
My song is done and I must be gone,
No longer may I stay,
Gods bless you all, the great and small,
And send you a joyous May.
The Place of May Day in the Calendar
The May Day festival is significant because it falls nearly midway between the
spring equinox and the summer solstice. The other cross-quarter days
correspond to the festivals of Candlemas (Imbolc), Beltane (May Day), and Halloween. Actual Cross-quarter Dates
Feb 4 Imbolc (Candlemas)
May 5 Beltane (May day)
Aug 7 Lammas
Nov 7 Samhain (Halloween)
Mayday - A Different Meaning
Will and Guy digress to bring you a different connotation of the word
'mayday'; namely, venez m'aider, come to my aid, which is used as an
international distress call. Check out our amusing video:
Mayday - Sinking Feeling Footnote: Please send us your May Day jokes and
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