Throughout the years and decades, there have been different meanings, festivities, and representations of May Day. The meaning of seasonal change has been the most significant one amongst different countries.

As time went on, different cultures created their own traditions in alignment with their beliefs. Europeans and Americans celebrate May Day with flower crowns, maypole dancing, and by making flower baskets to share with loved ones. In Hawaii, May Day is known as “Lei Day”, a celebration of the aloha spirit and the giving of the flower. What a better way to celebrate than with the people you love!


May Day is marked with rich celebrations of culture and folklore throughout history, welcoming the return of spring! There are many fun traditions that have persisted over time, like creating delightful little baskets with sweets and flowers. These baskets were sometimes left on the doorsteps of unsuspecting neighbors, with the sender yelling ‘May basket!’ and dashing from the scene.  

Celebrating spring also includes singing and dancing around a maypole, mostly at schools. This tradition is still alive in some schools, and children decorate the pole with colorful ribbons and other items. Spring flowers are picked and gifted to loved ones, and although all these traditions have become lesser-known today, they are still cherished and enjoyed by many.



It has made a huge impact today

Today, May Day is very popular! It is known as an official holiday in 66 countries and unofficially celebrated in more countries.

It’s connected to astronomy

May 1 is one of the four cross-quartered days, midday between an equinox and solstice. What a time to celebrate!

It has a different name in Hawaii

May Day is known as Lei Day in Hawaii. It’s a celebration of the aloha spirit and giving of the flower.

Roman festivals

May Day is connected to the festival of Floralia to honor spring. Floralia was the goddess of springtime in Rome.

The meaning of “Mayday” is different from its origin

“Mayday!” comes from the French phrase, M’aidez!, which means “Help me!.”



It’s a significant time of the seasons changing

May 1, as well as the entire month, is a time of flowers blooming, trees returning to life, birds singing, and animals coming out of hibernation. Nature becomes beautiful again!

It promotes unity

How can you have May Day without unity and togetherness? People all over the world celebrate May Day through singing, dancing, flowers, baskets and other traditions. Regardless of race and culture, people come together as one in celebration.

International Workers’ Day

In May 1886, a national strike was organized in the United States to promote an eight hour work day for citizens. A protest in Chicago’s Haymarket Square turned violent and to pay tribute to those involved, the International Socialist Conference made May 1 also known as International Workers’ Day.



Maypole Dance, dance away!

Celts used to dance around trees with bright ribbons as a way to welcome in good crops and fertility. Today, schools celebrate the Maypole Dance through spring festivals.

Make a May basket

Through the 19th and 20th century, people would leave a paper basket with spring flowers and treats on their neighbor’s doorsteps. The tradition was to knock on the door, yell “May basket!,” and then run.

Gather flowers

On May Day, people in Britain welcome spring by getting flowering trees for their homes. This symbolizes the return of spring.


Credit to National Today website.

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