May Day, May Day! What holiday is it? “Red with chalk, I draw boldly: peace, work and May ...” Once every year on a warm May Day, these lines sounded from all the horns of our immense homeland, and millions of people went to the May Day demonstration, happy, inspired, believing in their own strength, freedom and invincibility.
Of course, the times of the Soviet Union and communist ideals remained in the distant past. But in our time, May 1 - the Spring and Labor Day, the day of workers' solidarity - is one of the most beloved holidays of Russians.
May Day is the beginning of the last spring month, the long-awaited warmth, flowering of lilacs, the anticipation of a hot and gentle summer. May 1 is the first day in a series of holidays loved by millions, an opportunity to relax, spend time with family, attend demonstrations, parades and other interesting events.
But if the older generation still remembers the origins of this date in the Soviet Union, for May Day youth it is not a tribute to the traditions and ideals of the past, but only an additional day off in the working grid. Where did this holiday come from? And is it only in Russia that they celebrate it?
history of the holiday
If you think that May Day originates in the Soviet Union, you are mistaken. In fact, historically this is an American holiday. On May 1, in 1886, a workers' strike took place in the American city of Chicago: exhausted 15-hour working days, people demanded a relaxation of working conditions, legal days off and social guarantees.
The strike did not bring the desired results: the American authorities brutally dispersed the rally, there were many injured and even dead. However, from that day, the date of May 1 was firmly entrenched in the American calendar: every year, workers across the country began to take to the streets, demanding a fair attitude to their work. In 1889, the Paris Congress recognized this day as a holiday and gave it its first official name: Day of Workers' Solidarity.
In 1890, inspired by the example of Chicago workers, the May Day demonstration took place in Warsaw. In the same year, the first small actions took place in tsarist Russia. The large-scale nature of the performance took on by 1897: then, thousands of people across the country took to the streets. Red flags fluttered, revolutionary slogans sounded. In 1917, on the eve of the famous October Revolution, millions of people participated in demonstrations throughout Russia. It was in this year that the May 1 celebration took on such a grandiose character as we know from photographs and videos of the Soviet chronicle.
After the overthrow of tsarist rule and the coming of the Communists, the holiday changed its direction a bit. Now workers, living in a large, free and beautiful country of the future, did not need to defend their rights: they fought for the equality of other, oppressed peoples, for world peace, proclaimed freedom and stood for building world communism.
The last communist May Day demonstration took place in 1991. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the holiday was renamed Spring and Labor Day. Today it is celebrated a little less on a large scale, but nevertheless it is the freest and freethinking in the festive grid of the Russian people. A variety of parties and organizations come out to rallies with their demands, colorful demonstrations, concerts, events are held all over the country, and it ends with bright fireworks.
As noted on May 1 in other countries
Not only in the United States, Russia and Poland celebrates the famous May Day. Nearly 150 countries around the world also take to the streets on May 1 to proclaim their free views, shout loud slogans and just have a good rest and have fun. In different countries it is called differently: in Kazakhstan it is the Day of Unity of Peoples, in Spain it is the Day of Flowers, and in Italy it is the happiest day of the year is a wonderful name, right? - but their essence is approximately the same: it is a holiday dedicated to spring, freedom and equality.
In different countries, May Day is celebrated differently. In Germany, numerous colorful fairs are held, and there is also a touching tradition: a man in love can plant a seedling under the windows of his beloved girl. In Sweden, on the night of May 1, garbage accumulated over the winter is burned. In Greece, this day symbolizes a change of seasons (according to the very myth of Demeter and Persephone), and young girls weave wreaths of wildflowers. Whole flower fairs are organized on this day in France and Italy, and all people give flowers to each other, and in the Netherlands on May 1, a tulip festival, and thousands of tourists annually come from all over the world to this country to see a delightful sight.
How to congratulate friends and colleagues, what to give
May 1 is a holiday historically associated with the rights and freedoms of citizens, so the best thing you can do on this day is to have a good rest. Congratulate your family and friends by inviting you to a picnic in nature or to barbecue in the country. If you can’t leave the city, go to a demonstration together, buy flags and colorful balloons, as well as something tasty in numerous fair tents.
Something useful has been accepted for May 1. The manager or director can be given a diary, organizer or an original calendar. If mutual understanding and warm relations prevail, you can make a little joke: give a toy medal to the “Best Leader” or a sign on the door of the office “Please do not disturb - the bosses have come to their senses”. There are a lot of similar comic souvenirs in gift shops.
Colleagues will receive presentations on professional topics: for a teacher - a set of red pens, for a doctor - a beautiful case for a portable first-aid kit, for a lawyer or businessman - a representative expensive pen. Pay attention to the hobbies of your colleagues: an avid gardener will be delighted with garden tools, seeds and seedlings, and a needlewoman with new yarn or a set of embroiderers. The main thing is to be generous and original!
May Day is the same day when a husband and wife can, without a twinge of conscience, give each other kitchen utensils, household appliances and work tools. You can make a symbolic gift: for example, give a broom with green shoots braided into it.
You can give your friends a set for a summer vacation: for example, a barbecue with skewers, a picnic basket, a water-repellent blanket or a sunbed with an umbrella. Also entertaining, playful little things are suitable: a kite, a bunch of white, blue and red balls (the flag of Russia), board games.
Interesting facts related to the holiday
Over many years of international history, May Day has found a huge number of fascinating facts. I will list some of them.
- The celebration of the beginning of spring dates back to pagan times: for example, the symbol of the ancient Celtic holiday Beltein was a May tree, around it danced with ribbons, and this marked the awakening of nature;
- The month of May itself is also named after the pagan goddess Maya, who was responsible for fertility; to appease her, people brought generous gifts and loudly celebrated the onset of the last spring month;
- During the times of the Soviet Union, many unusual names appeared with "communist" decipherments: Vladlen - Vladimir Lenin, Staliv - Stalin Joseph Vissarionovich, there was also the name Dazdraperm - "Long live the first of May."
If there are no grandiose plans, and you are not going to a demonstration or a picnic, you can pay tribute to the traditions and ideals of the Soviet era and watch the video chronicle of the first demonstrations, listen to songs that sounded once on this wonderful spring day, or get acquainted with films of the Soviet era.
Yes, May Day is an important day and holiday for every inhabitant of the planet. May 1 is not just a day off, it is a date with a rich history and amazing traditions. May 1 is a symbol of freedom, equality and fraternity. And each self-respecting person and citizen must certainly know a little more about this holiday.