May Day CelebrationsCategory: Customs + Festivals
Morris Men Dance All Day Long. On May Day a New Life Begins
The beautiful springtime festival of May Day is observed in every nation, each according to its own customs and traditions. In most countries on May 1st a new life begins for both nature and man.
May Day is more important in Northern Europe than in warmer countries farther south. People grow tired of snow and ice and short winter days to which May Day signifies an end. The people of Belgium welcome spring with parades and fairs. Holland celebrates with tulip festivals and in Switzerland people offer up special May Day prayers. In France people buy flowers at sidewalk stands. They wear them and give them to their friends for luck.
As summer comes, Britain likes to celebrate the end of winter. Much of this celebration is connected with dancing, which is performed to encourage life and growth and drive away harmful spirits. Children may be seen dancing round the Maypole on village greens, weaving their brightly-coloured scarves into a beautiful pattern. Morris men dance all day long on May 1st waving their white handkerchiefs to drive away the evil spirits and welcome in the new ones.