This is the last day of April. Tomorrow we celebrate Beltane and May Day, and while we can weave flowers in our hair and dance around the maypole, it’s also also called Workers’ Day or International Workers’ Day, to commemorate the struggles and gains made by workers and the labor movement.
May Day is a far cry away from the international call of distress, mayday. I always wondered where that term emanated from. For some reason, SOS didn’t work, so it seems as if mayday was attributed to Frederick Stanley Mockford, a senior radio officer in the RAF. In 1927, the United States formally adopted it as an official radiotelegraph distress signal, explaining that mayday corresponds “to the French pronunciation of the expression m’aider.” It’s simple meaning in English is “help me.”
Beltane is a Celtic annual festival to signify the return of the light.
Whether you light bonfires, decorate your homes with May flowers, or make May bushes, have a Happy Beltane and May Day!
Yes, I will spend the livelong day
With Nature in this month of May;
And sit beneath the trees, and share
My bread with birds whose homes are there;
While cows lie down to eat, and sheep
Stand to their necks in grass so deep;
While birds do sing with all their might,
As though they felt the earth in flight.
This is the hour I dreamed of, when
I sat surrounded by poor men;
And thought of how the Arab sat
Alone at evening, gazing at
The stars that bubbled in clear skies;
And of young dreamers, when their eyes
Enjoyed methought a precious boon
In the adventures of the Moon
Whose light, behind the Clouds’ dark bars,
Searched for her stolen flocks of stars.
When I, hemmed in by wrecks of men,
Thought of some lonely cottage then
Full of sweet books; and miles of sea,
With passing ships, in front of me;
And having, on the other hand,
A flowery, green, bird-singing land.
William Henry Davies 1871–1940