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Posts Tagged ‘may day’

The organizers of the 2nd Annual Haymarket Festival in Springfield, Illinois, did so on behalf of the people of Springfield. Organizer Drew Duzinskas said, “It’s about coming together in spring. I like to see cool things happen this time of year.” His intention in participating in the planning was to put on an event that people would enjoy and take home a positive message, as well as engender a sense of community. Spring was in the air in the form of mild temperatures and intermittent rain sprinkles, but that did not quash the spirits of the dozens of people in attendance. A maypole was erected, and many folks (self included) had fun running around and around wrapping streamers around the pole, in memory of the traditional fertility rites of spring.

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May Day is celebrated by different peoples for many reasons. May Day is the traditional Labor Day, or International Workers’ Day, often celebrated with demonstrations, rallies, and street marches by unions, anarchists, and socialist groups. In the United States, May Day is celebrated as a remembrance of the Haymarket Massacre in Chicago in 1886, in which a bomb went off (supposedly…) and police opened fire on a group of striking workers, killing many workers and police officers (from friendly fire). Several key labor leaders were hanged, becoming martyrs of the labor movement. President Cleveland moved the national Labor Day celebration to the first Monday in September shortly thereafter, fearing if Labor Day were celebrated on May Day, there would be further riots and violence. However, Americans are not fooled, and often celebrate the traditional Labor Day with the rest of the world. This was especially true during the Great Depression when thousands of leftist workers marched in New York’s Union Square, and in other places throughout the country.

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After attending a winter solstice get-together that was entirely infused with ritual and meaning, I decided to recreate this experience on the vernal (spring) equinox. Although the winter solstice gathering was enjoyed by a large group of extended friends, I am spending March 20/21 with my lover, and so we planned our intimate rituals accordingly. Large group or small, creating your own rituals gives new meaning to any holiday, especially ones whose meanings have been largely forgotten.

My dear editor reminded me:

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