Nathan (vovat) wrote,
Nathan
vovat

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May Day! We're Going Down!

So, it's May Day, isn't it? It's not a particularly major holiday in the United States, but it's more significant in other countries. I understand that it was the traditional beginning of summer in much of Europe, which is why the summer solstice is also called Midsummer. I guess the idea that a season should start with a solstice or equinox doesn't always work out anyway. I mean, businesses and public institutions here in the States often use Memorial Day as their first day of summer. Anyway, May Day traditions include dancing around a phallic symbol, a drunk guy wearing garlands, and the crowning of an underage girl as May Queen. The Puritans weren't too keen on the maypole, regarding it as an idol. But then, I don't think they were too keen on dancing in general. In Germany, either tonight or last night (I guess it depends on the region) is Walpurgis Night, the celebration of the walrus (which is, of course, a traditional symbol of death). Activities include looking through bent-back tulips to see how the other half live, and eating a meal of oysters. No, seriously, everyone knows you aren't supposed to eat oysters in May. Walpurgis Night is actually a combination of Christian and Viking traditions, and it's when witches meet on the Brocken to exchange gossip and recipes, or something like that. It's also the Gaelic Beltane, traditionally when people and livestock walked through bonfires to purify themselves. And when I say "walked through bonfires," I mean they walked in between two separate ones. Much less dangerous that way, you know? {g}

Also, happy birthday to mikeleffel, and happy belated birthday to arfies!
Tags: holidays
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