Mayday! Mayday!

“Mayday!” is an emergency procedure word used internationally as a distress signal in voice procedure radio communications. It comes from the French phrase, venez m’aider, meaning “come help me!”

We’ve been given warning by Occupy Wall Street, and the Occupy movement, that they will occupy the Lincoln and Holland Tunnels and the George Washington Bridge on May 1st, or May Day, the official holiday of communism (Karl Marx was born on May 5, 1818).

May Day is related to the Celtic festival of Beltane and the Germanic festival of Walpurgis Night. May Day falls exactly half a year from November 1, another cross-quarter day which is also associated with various northern European pagan and neopagan festivals such as Samhain.

May Day marks the end of the unfarmable winter half of the year in the Northern hemisphere, and it has traditionally been an occasion for popular and often raucous celebrations. 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 as with Christmas, Easter, Pentecost, and All Saint’s Day. In the 20th century, many neopagans began reconstructing the old traditions and celebrating May Day as a pagan religious festival again.

The earliest May Day celebrations appeared in pre-Christian times, with the festival of Flora, the Roman goddess of flowers, and the Walpurgis Night celebrations of the Germanic countries. It is also associated with the Gaelic Beltane. Many pagan celebrations were abandoned or Christianized during the process of conversion in Europe. A more secular version of May Day continues to be observed in Europe and America. In this form, May Day may be best known for its tradition of dancing the maypole dance and crowning of the Queen of the May. Various neopagan roups celebrate reconstructed (to varying degrees) versions of these customs on  May 1st.

The day was a traditional summer holiday in many pre-Christian pagan cultures. While Feb. 1 was the first day of Spring, May 1 was the first day of summer; hence, the summer solstice on June 25 (now June 21) was Midsummer. In the Roman Catholic tradition, May is observed as Mary’s month, and in these circles May Day is usually a celebration of the Blessed Virgin Mary. In this connection, in works of art, school skits, and so forth, Mary’s head will often be adorned with flowers in a May crowning.  Fading in popularity since the late 20th century is the giving of “May baskets,” small baskets of sweets and/or flowers, usually left anonymously on neighbors’ doorsteps.   Another tradition involved children dancing around the May Pole, with brightly colored ribbons.

In rural regions of Germany, especially the Harz Mountains, Walpurgisnacht celebrations of pagan origin are traditionally held on the night before May Day, including bonfires and the wrapping of a Maibaum (a maypole). Young people use this opportunity to party, while the day itself is used by many families to get some fresh air. Motto: “Tanz in den Mai!” (“Dance into May!”). In the Rhineland, May 1 is also celebrated by the delivery of a maypole, a tree covered in streamers to the house of a girl the night before. The tree is typically from a love interest, though a tree wrapped only in white streamers is a sign of dislike.

As Christians transformed this holiday into a celebration of the Virgin Mary, Communists and Labor Unions have re-transformed the day into something less innocent and wholesome.  Commuters trying to travel over the GW Bridge or through the Lincoln and Holland Tunnels will certainly not have roses tossed at their cars but something more noisome.

Occupy Wall Street’s choice of targets – the GW, and the tunnels – is interesting and telling.  These pieces of infrastructure were once the targets of Sheikh Abdel Rahman, as well as other ambitious terrorists intent on making the New York City commute longer, more difficult, and more dangerous than it already is.

But never fear:  the Administration has declared that the War on Terror is officially over.  Commuters need worry no longer.  The George Washington Bridge, from now on will be festooned in brightly colored streamers and spring flowers.  No need for any mayday distress calls.  All will be well on May 1st.  People will be dancing in the streets.

Won’t they?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Published in: on April 25, 2012 at 11:14 am  Leave a Comment  

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