Happy May Day!

Library of Congress/Public Domain

Get out there and dance around a tree, and celebrate the fertility of the season. Put some flowers in your hair in honour of a holiday that dates back to Roman times and the Festival of Flora, the goddess of flowers. Crown some sweet young thing the Queen of May.

Everyone was having such a good time on May Day until after the Haymarket Massacre in Chicago in 1886, when demonstrators and Police were killed during a general strike in support of an eight hour work day. May 1 became International Workers Day in memory of the massacre, and a red scare swept America.

In 1887 President Grover Cleveland supported the establishment of Labor Day in September to divert attention from May 1 and the memory of the massacre. According to Wikipedia,

In 1921, following the Russian Revolution of 1917, May 1 was promoted as "Americanization Day" by the Veterans of Foreign Wars and other groups as a counter to communists. It became an annual event, sometimes featuring large rallies. In 1949, Americanization Day was renamed to Loyalty Day. In 1958, the U.S. Congress declared Loyalty Day, the U.S. recognition of May 1, a national holiday.

So Happy Loyalty Day, America, while the rest of the world goes and hugs a tree.

Tags: Holidays

Best of TreeHugger