It’s known as International Workers’ Day in much of the world, of course. But the traditions go back into Northern European prehistory, when Beltane was celebrated as the day when the cattle (among other mammals) were released from their winter imprisonment to go seeking after fresh pastures. From the Internet Book of Shadows:
… One of the most beautiful customs associated with this festival was “bringing in the May.” The young people of the villages and towns would go out into the fields and forests at Midnight on April 30th and gather flowers with which to bedeck themselves, their families and their homes. They would process back into the villages, stopping at each home to leave flowers and to receive the best of food and drink that the home had to offer… John Williamson, in his study “The Oak King, the Holly King and the Unicorn” writes: “These revelers were messengers of the renewal of vegetation, and they assumed the right to punish the niggardly, because avarice (as opposed to generosity) was dangerous to the community’s hope for the abundance of nature. At an important time like the coming of summer, food, the substance of life, must be ritually circulated generously within the community in order that the cosmic circuit of life’s substance may be kept in motion…”
Apart from celebrating, what’s on the agenda for the day?