- the first day of May, long celebrated with various festivities, as the crowning of the May queen, dancing around the Maypole, and, in recent years, often marked by labor parades and political demonstrations.[1225-75; ME]
* * *In Europe, the day (May 1) for traditional springtime celebrations.It probably originated in pre-Christian agricultural rituals. Celebrations included a May king and queen, a Maypole, and people carrying trees, green branches, or garlands. May Day was designated an international labour day by the International Socialist Congress of 1899, and it remains the standard Labour Day worldwide, with a few exceptions, including Canada and the U.S. A major holiday in the Soviet Union and other communist countries, it was the occasion for important political demonstrations.
* * *▪ European holidayin medieval and modern Europe, holiday (May 1) for the celebration of the return of spring. The observance probably originated in ancient agricultural rituals, and the Greeks and Romans held such festivals. Although later practices varied widely, the celebrations came to include the gathering of wildflowers and green branches, the weaving of floral garlands, the crowning of a May king and queen, and the setting up of a decorated May tree, or Maypole, around which people danced. Such rites originally may have been intended to ensure fertility for crops and, by extension, for livestock and humans, but in most cases this significance was gradually lost, so that the practices survived largely as popular festivities. Among the many superstitions associated with May Day was the belief that washing the face with dew on the morning of May 1 would beautify the skin. Because the Puritans of New England considered the celebrations of May Day to be licentious and pagan, they forbade its observance, and the holiday never became an important part of American culture.In 1889 the International Socialist Congress designated May 1 as a day in support of workers, and in some countries May Day subsequently came to be marked by parades and ceremonies noting especially the contributions of labour unions. After World War II, in the Soviet Union (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics) and the Soviet-bloc countries of eastern Europe, May Day parades became important political and military observances. The annual Soviet parade in Red Square in Moscow, presided over by top government and Communist Party functionaries, was known for its display of the country's military might. With the breakup of the Soviet Union and the fall of communist governments in eastern Europe, such celebrations declined in importance. In some countries, however, May Day has continued to be observed as a workers' holiday, similar to Labor Day in the United States.
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May Day — May May, n. [F. Mai, L. Maius; so named in honor of the goddess Maia (Gr. Mai^a), daughter of Atlas and mother of Mercury by Jupiter.] 1. The fifth month of the year, containing thirty one days. Chaucer. [1913 Webster] 2. The early part or… … The Collaborative International Dictionary of English
May|day — May Day, the first day of May, often celebrated by crowning a girl honored as the queen of May, dancing around the Maypole, and other festivities. In some parts of the world, labor parades and meetings are held on May Day. May|day «MAY DAY», noun … Useful english dictionary
May Day — n [U and C] the first day of May, when ↑left wing political parties in some countries celebrate, and when people traditionally celebrate the arrival of spring … Dictionary of contemporary English
May Day — May′ Day n. the first day of May variously celebrated with festivities and observances • Etymology: 1225–75 … From formal English to slang
May Day — ► NOUN ▪ 1 May, celebrated as a springtime festival or as a day honouring workers … English terms dictionary
May Day — first of May, mid 15c. Accounts of merrymaking on this date are attested from mid 13c. Synonymous with communist procession from at least 1906. The May Queen seems to be a Victorian re invented tradition … Etymology dictionary
May Day — n. May 1: as a traditional spring festival, often celebrated by dancing around a maypole, crowning a May queen, etc.; as a more recent international labor holiday, observed in many countries by parades, demonstrations, etc … English World dictionary
May Day — May ,Day noun count or uncount May 1st, when people traditionally celebrated the beginning of spring. Many countries have a public holiday on or near this date, in honor of working people … Usage of the words and phrases in modern English
May Day — This article is about the holidays celebrated on May 1. For more information on the labour related holiday, see International Workers Day. For the distress signal, see Mayday. For other uses, see May Day (disambiguation) … Wikipedia
May Day — noun observed in many countries to celebrate the coming of spring; observed in Russia and related countries in honor of labor (Freq. 1) • Syn: ↑First of May, ↑May 1 • Hypernyms: ↑day • Part Holonyms: ↑May * * * … Useful english dictionary