May Day is related to the Celtic festival of Beltane and the Germanic festival of Walpurgis Night. – it has traditionally been an occasion for celebration. As Europe became Christianized, the pagan holidays lost their religious character and either changed into popular secular celebrations, as with May Day, or were merged with or replaced by new Christian holidays. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/May_Day
Feast of Beltane Long ago, Celts celebrated Beltane, which was a calendar feast that welcomed summer. Bonfires figured largely into this celebration, and some activities included dancing around the fire, burning effigies of witches(?), and herding cattle in between bonfires. Fire was seen as a purifying source. In recent years, neopagans have begun to celebrate Beltane once more.
May Day, also known as International Worker's Day, commemorates the 1886 Haymarket Riots in Chicago and is often celebrated by anarchists, socialists and labor organizations alike. The posters below come from Russia, Cuba, Palestine, Mexico, Turkey and the United States and span from 1894 to current day. Source. This poster dates somewhere between 1920-1940 and was displayed as part of an exhibit on Russian constructivist art. Source. A 2012 American May Day poster. Source. The…
May Day is not an overly prominent holiday in America. Yet, it does have a long and notable history as one of the world's principal festivals. The origin of the May Day as a day for celebration dates back to the days, even before the birth of Christ. And like many ancient festivals it too has a Pagan connection.