Friday, May 1, 2009

Happy May Day ~ Happy Birthday Kate Smith

Hello To All!

I hope that this post finds you well on this May Day.

So what is May Day other than and distress signal? Actually it is rather interesting.

In the Celtic traditions, pre-Christianity, May Day signified the festival of Beltane. Which was the start of the summer season. The herds of livestock were driven to the fields and a new fire was built that would be kept going all the way til it was time for the next festival.

May Day is also a cross quarter day, marking the half way point between the sun's journey from spring equinox and the summer solstice.

The May Pole was a fixture in many towns and was decorated for this festival to signify to new growth and vitality of Spring. Traditions like hanging flowers on doors of the homes in the villages and picking a May Queen become more prominent in the late 1700's and are of the British and Puritan influence.

In the late 1800's May Day became the symbol of international labor as worker's gathered together to demand better working conditions including the 8 hour work day. This relates to the Haymarket Square affair in 1886 Chicago. After employees decide to strike a machinery plant when fellow workers were killed due to unsafe conditions. This lead to further protest, a bombing in the crowd with a lot of bloodshed and the eventual public hanging of 7 convicted criminals. Ewww

In 1958 President Eisenhower signed a proclamation naming May 1 as Loyalty Day. A day to re-proclaim our loyalty to our country. Some areas of the country celebrate this with parades and festivals.

Which brings us to our Birthday Shout Out which is the late Kate Smith. Today she would have been 92. She was a talented singer that was featured on radio shows in the 1930's and beyond. Her most memorable recording was her rendition of Irving Berlin's "God Bless America".

You had a wonderful gift Ms. Smith and we are all grateful for you sharing it.

So we have come full circle celebrating the beginning of the growing season, to the celebration of labor to the very reminder why we as so blessed with the freedoms we have.

Go out and dance around the May Pole or just brings some fresh flowers in your home. Celebrate what a great country we have. And celebrate all of those who fight to keep our country great!

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