Happy May Day

i-516f314e80239d1a4c64a310b45b00f9-mayday.jpgMay Day is the day that we traditionally get our military hardware out and parade it around Moscow and Havana. It is also International Worker’s Day and International Labor Day. As with all holidays, there are spooky ancient origins as well. May Day is the half way point between Solstice and Equinox, so it is a good day for a blood sacrifice, ritual sex, or repainting the temple. Whatever suits your particular “world view.”

For instance, in America, it is the day the President of the United States pretends to fly a Fighter Jet on to an Aircraft Carrier where he declaires:

Mission Accomplished

[The Hip Hop Rapper here is Brother Ali, home grown in South Minneapolis. Thanks Asha for turning me on to “United Snakes”]

Well, to be honest, this only happened once, and it was five years ago, and in reference to Iraq. The ritual nature of that event is evident in the total disconnect between the activity and reality. Everyone, especially those in the field in the military, and diplomats in West Asia, were utterly astounded at Bush’s announcement because the mission was very clearly nothing like accomplished.

This is also the day, in 1997, when Tasmania decriminalized homosexuality, and the day Rodney King made his second public television appearance to say:

“People, I just want to say, you know, can we all get along?”

That was just ritual as well, as it turns out.

In 1945 on this day, German Radio made the following announcement:

Adolf Hitler has fallen at his command post in the Reich Chancery fighting to the last breath against Bolshevism and for Germany

It appears that he really was dead, but rather than fighting to the end (one imagines him behind his desk with a luger in one hand and a sword in the other, decapitating and blasting Russian cossacks piling into the room from several directions) he actually passed away in a drug induced haze or shot himself or something.

Not said on this day, but worth noting:

“Racism, left unchecked, will inevidibly lead to holocaust” … Mischa Penn

Another famous statement made on this day, in 1961, was by the now very nearly dead Dr. Fidel Castro, on canceling elections:

… bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla … The revolution has no time for elections. ……. bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla

(The bla bla bla part is meant to represent that he was famous for giving impossibly long speeches.)

Comments

  1. #1 Ian
    May 1, 2008

    Bush is now framing the “Mission Accomplished” thing as meaning the mission of the particular ship he was on. And it only took him 5 years to think up that excuse too….

  2. #2 laurisa
    May 1, 2008

    may day IS a big deal around here. I cannot go into the communities for safety/security reasons, but drums are beating, a lot of hollering, singing going on within earshot. i think i too will celebrate. with a guinness.

    happy may day!

  3. #3 chezjake
    May 1, 2008

    Let it not be forgotten that May Day is also the occasion when it is customary for lads (and now lasses too) in Britain and other parts influenced by British folk traditions to rise before dawn and go out into the streets singing, dancing with bells on, and making loud music to wake the sun from its winter sloth and force it to rise earlier so that summer may come in.

    That tradition is the origin of perhaps the oldest recorded English folk song (from at least the 13th century), which is also quoted in Shakespeare, I believe:

    Sumer is icumen in,
    Lhude sing, cuccu!
    Groweth sed and bloweth med
    And springth the wude nu.
    Sing, cuccu!

    Of course, once having succeeded at this noble task, it’s necessary to retire to the local pub and demand large quantities of free ale as a reward for their success.

  4. #4 Romeo Vitelli
    May 1, 2008

    Really, it’s the night before May 1 that has the big ritual significance. The evening of April 30th is a traditional Celtic/Gaelic ritual time (it was called Beltane or the feast of fire) and Wiccans are big on celebrating it. Germans called it Walpurgis Night which was a time to stay indoors since all sorts of dark, supernatural baddies were abroad to ensnare Godfearing folk. May 1 was the time for celebration since the forces of darkness were defeated for another year. It’s a very old tradition.

  5. #5 Colugo
    May 1, 2008

    Excellent May Day illustration by Rockwell Kent. Have you seen Kent’s Moby Dick series?

    Adolf Hitler was the first German leader to make May Day a national holiday, called the National Day of Labor. An official Nazi medallion for May 1, 1934 depicts a face, eagle and swastika flanked by a hammer and sickle.

    The Haymarket Riot probably has a lot to do with May Day never becoming an official holiday in the United States.

  6. #6 Colugo
    May 1, 2008

    I, Colugo, am a moron; May Day as a labor holiday began as a commemoration of the Haymarket Riot – as everyone else probably already knows (I’m sure that I knew that but forgot somewhere along the way). But celebrations on the first of May are ancient, as already noted.

    In any case, it was too close to home for the day to become a labor holiday in the US.

  7. #7 laurisa
    May 1, 2008

    thx all for the educational lesson. I am constantly amazed at the influences I see each and every day from the colonial powers that once resided here, whether the tradition makes sense or not in this geographical area. May day is one more example.

    thx for the lesson. Do i label this “Home Schooling” ;>) HA!

  8. #8 the real cmf
    May 2, 2008

    “I, Colugo, am a moron”.
    Well said!!
    happy Maty Day all…;-0

  9. #9 Lassi Hippeläinen
    May 2, 2008

    “May Day is the day that we traditionally get our military hardware out and parade it around Moscow…”

    Actually, no. It was on November 7th (Oct 25th of the old calendar), to celebrate the October Revolution.

  10. #10 Greg Laden
    May 2, 2008

    Lassi … I assure you that the existence of May First does not obviate the “October Revolution” of November 7th. You are probably too young to remember the parades of military hardware in Havana and Moscow and elsewhere. On May 1st.

    … So, I “not” your “no”

  11. #11 Lassi Hippeläinen
    May 2, 2008

    At a few days short of 53 I may be too young…

    May 1st was the worker’s parade day. Not so much emphasis on military stuff, because the USSR was all for global peace and love, not war. Don’t know about Havana.

    The Soviets did have a military show also in May, but the day is the 9th, to celebrate the end of WW2. If rumors are correct, that tradition will be revived this year.

    The Russians don’t seem to care that Germany had surrendered unconditionally already on May 8th. But a Soviet representative wasn’t on location, and Stalin wasn’t happy until he got his own surrender ceremony on the next day.

  12. #12 Greg Laden
    May 2, 2008

    No, you’re old enough. But pictures like this:
    http://www.life.com/Life/classicpictures/mayday/6.html

    resonate with me. You’re right about these other things, of course.

    I always thought, from my own upbringing, that it was annoying that the soviets did link world domination and labor, and thus, made labor a hard line to tow in the increasingly anti-communist US. I remember labor-connected elders wishing the soviets would specifically not parade the military stuff on may day/labor day.

  13. #13 asha.
    May 6, 2009

    Hey. I just watched the united snakes video you posted. That’s not brother ali! It sounds like “immortal technique” but i’m not sure.

    Anyhow, the brother ali song you were probably thinking of is called “Uncle Sam Goddamn”.

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