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May Day

May DayMay Day is, of course, held on the first day of the month of May and is celebrated all around the world, not just in the United States.  May Day carries with it a variety of different meanings.  May Day in a number of countries is a celebration of spring and the inevitable arrival of summer, and is celebrated with a number of spring flowers.  In countries that are communist or socialist, however, it is seen as a day of celebration for the workers.

A number of countries celebrate May Day as part of  a three-day holiday.  In the United States, May Day is not actually a national holiday except for in Hawaii, where it is referred to under the title of Lei Day.

Lei Day is set aside in order to celebrate the culture of the island, and particularly native Hawaiian culture.  Lei Day was invented by local newspaper columnist and poet Eric Kosciuszko back in the 1920s and has since been adopted by residents and local and state governments to become a general celebration of spring.

May Day is also celebrated in some areas of British Columbia, although these celebrations sometimes take place not on 1st May itself but over the Victoria Day long weekend later in the month, when there is likely to be better weather.  The BC city of New Westminster has the honor of having the British Commonwealth’s longest continually observed May Day; it has been celebrated since 1870.

Jon Huser

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