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May Day

The first day of May, the date traditionally recognized by many cultures as the beginning of the Spring season. However, there are many other events noted for the first of May, most which comes from other ethnic groups. See if you recognize any of these May 1st celebrations?

The traveling circuses around the globe traditionally started their season on May 1st.  This would include new circus acts joining a circus would start the first of May.  There was a Hollywood movie produced titled “The First of May” in 1999 about the circuses beginning on that date.

Colleges and universities have May first as their big recruitment day where final selections are made of the new freshmen class.

In Europe May Day has long been recognized as a workers day, dating back to 1890.  Over the years May Day has circled around the working-class and labor unions.

Some holidays or special recognitions are done on May 1st; including ’Be Kind to Animals’, opening performances of the Boston Pops orchestra, Loyalty Day  (recognizing democracy),  Moving Day (time to have a fresh start in a new residence), Law Day and Spring festivals (dances around the May Pole).

Bank Day in the United Kingdom is to recognize the work done by bankers.

Some historical events that happened on May 1st include:  the first cricket match in America was in 1751, the Wedgwood pottery factory started in England in 1759, the Great Exhibition of London opened 1851, the Battle of Manila Bay in the 1898 Spanish-American War, the planet ‘Pluto’ was named in 1930, the NYC Empire State Building was dedicated in 1933, a polio vaccine was made public in 1956 and the Worlds’ Fairs opened up in Tennessee in 1982.

Then there are many female babies born in the month of May who are given that as a first or middle name. May is also a surname, originally from German and Scottish origins.  Several celebrities over the years have held that May surname.  They include Buckshot May, a professional baseball player; Edna May, an actress; Jonathan May, a musical conductor, Mark May, a professional football player and Thomas May, an English poet.

Check your family tree, see how many ancestors married, were born or died in the month of May and especially the first of May.

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