Early May Bank Holiday
Early May Bank Holiday in United Kingdom, for the years 2016, 2017 and 2018.
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Early May Bank Holiday
The First Monday of May, also known as "Early May" or "May Day", is a bank holiday in the United Kingdom. Probably, it has its origins on the Roman celebrations to greet the first days of summer. Nowadays, in several countries all around the World, May is the month dedicated to workers and, therefore, the first day of May is an acknowledged celebration. In United Kingdom, the holiday falls the first monday of the month, instead of falling on the first day of May.
In United Kingdom it seems that the Early May Bank is more linked to its pagan origins than somewhere else. For example, in Italy and Spain, the related bank holiday falls the first day of May, also known as "International Workers' Day", or "Labor Day". This celebration commemorates the importance of work and is held by labourers and the working classes, even to demand rights for workers. This happens in the biggest city of the Country, such as London or Edinburgh, where marches and parades are organized by trade and labour unions.
Early May Bank Holiday in United Kingdom: the rebirth of the earth
The first days of May are the ones that part the cold season from the hottest one. The weather becomes warmer and flowers and trees start to blossom. This is a season of rebirth which was widely celebrated in all Europe, even during the Middle Ages. In effect, people celebrate the fertility of the earth by dancing and singing in the fields, meadows and along the rivers. Several traditions were preserved during the years, so, even today, the first Monday of May is an occasion to stick together and celebrate with dances and floreal garlands.
Roman festival of Flora
It seems that the May Day celebrations were originated by the Roman festival of Flora, which was the Goddess of fruits and flowers. That's why, throughout the ages, the Church tried to forbid this festivity, because considered it pagan and unchristian. However, the tradition to celebrate the May Day has not been slowed down.
Maypole and maypole dance
A widely known tradition is the maypole dance, held during the festival of Early May Bank Holidays or during the Pentecost. A maypole is a wooden pole erected by people in the middle of big, green areas. Folks gather around the tree and dance and together, sometimes forming shapes such as circles or squares. During these country dance, people dress in old fashioned style or even in medieval dresses and armours.