Saturday, May 2, 2015

May Day - The Spring Season, The Church and The Communist Party

The month of May has many surprises for most people, especially for those who live in the northern hemisphere in which they experiencing the season of spring. Aside from that, laborers on May 1 celebrated labor day in which it was applauded by different communist countries and groups around the globe. Now, we are discussing about the month of May, the May Day, the season of spring and the communist party's labor-centric celebrations.


It is confusing by a mere fact that May Day refers not only one, but two kinds of celebrations. First, May Day is more often referred as the International Worker's Day wherein communist and laborers alike celebrating their fruits of labor and also the glory of workers as a driving force of a nation's progress. Second, and lastly, May Day refers to the traditionalist pagan traditions that already take place since the Roman times in which it was more of celebrating either the season of spring or summer, wherein some of Christian celebration particularly those of Virgin Mary derived at after the Christianization in Europe, thus making May Day traditions more secular. The origins for both versions plus the Christian perspective will be discussed in this blog.


The darkest beginnings of May day traced back on the year 1886 in Chicago, USA wherein these workers were killed by the police in a general strike (The Haymarket Affair). In fact, it was as synonymous with the International worker's day which is, Labor day. Such tragedy spark a worldwide revolution, starting from 1894 May Day revolutions to Cleveland, USA during the depression period to Karl Marx's ideology written on the books Das Kapital and Communist Manifesto, wherein it transpires the foundation of communism across the globe, starting from 1917 Russian Revolution led by Vladimir Lenin and his Bolshevik comrades, spreading throughout World War 2 by Josef Stalin, introduced in China by Mao Zedong, the thing that keeps Kim Il-Sung in power throughout his life in North Korea, an ideology that led to Ho Chi Minh's victory over all of Vietnam, and most of all, the thing that keeps on oppressing their very own citizens in which they think, is for the betterment of their county.

Soviet Union's Great Patriotic War that makes Eastern Europe Communist.
Великая Отечественная война Советского Союза , что делает Восточную Европу коммунистом.


Now, this is much, much more confusing. On the first paragraph describes May Day as a Laborer's Celebration (Labor Day) But then again, the traditions traced back to their ancestors in the past, People of North Hemisphere refers May Day to more on the season of spring, in which it is explainable as the celebration where a person can see all of those flowers blooming, as in Pre-Christianic times, it is referred as "Floralia, the feast of Flora." Flora in ancient times refers as the Roman goddess of Flowers. In fact, in paganic cultures, May 1 is the start of what so-called the traditional summer holiday instead of spring. Sounds pagan as it seems, but as the time goes by, due to the introduction of Christianity, May Day is somewhat becomes a more secular form of celebration in which it has been celebrated by many. From maypoles to the crowning the queen of May, one best example of a Christian May Day celebrations was in Germany wherein they celebrate it in dedication for St. Walburga.

One, perfect example of a queen of May. Source: "Melmerby May Queen on Village Green - - 233648" by Charles Rispin. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons -

There's more interesting story than that. Since 18th century, the Roman Catholic Church have observed the month of May as well as May Day, as devotions to the Blessed Virgin Mary, in which in many forms of art, Mary is crowned with blooming flowers.


The May devotions of Virgin Mary is a Marian tradition wherein the Catholic Church honoring Mary as "Queen of May" that is indeed, a known Church ritual in the Catholic world. It was derived back in the 13th century wherein the then King Alfonso X of Castille (Now Spain) wrote in his Castigas de Santa Maria about the special offering of Mary throughout the month of May. It was then in the late eighteenth century where the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits) together with Father Latomia of the Roman College of the said religious order, made a vow to this devotion to counteract the infidelity and immorality among the students at that time. Such practices spreads further into the whelm of the Church which is known as the Church of the Latin rite. Pope Paul VI writes in his 1965 encyclical Mense Maio, he stressed and identified the month of May, starting May 1, where May Day celebrations occur, as a time to incorporate prayers of peace. (A separate article will be made for an in-depth discussion in this part of subject matter)

A typical Santacruzan procession, usually takes place during Flores de Mayo
in the Philippines throughout the month of May.


The meaning is clear. The confusion is settled. May Day is still May Day. Whether we refer to the flowery spring traditions, the communist traditions, or the Church rituals, the Month of May, as well as May day, is a month in which celebrations pertains to growth, to bloom, and the progress of all aspects. For the pagans of the past, it is the growth and the blooming of nature coming from the frosty winter. For the laborers and communist, it is the growth of a revolution in what perceives as the real progress in a nation, a utopia for workers. For Christians, it is more of a devotion of the Virgin Mary that makes the faithful's devotion grow large. Even though different in ideology, the three extremes share one goal - celebrating the real growth and the bloom of life.


*Wikipedia articles have their own respective, well-renowned sources. It is always shown below after a documentary article. Any questions about the source? Writr it in the comments section.


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