Words in Business – May Day

Why do we have a May Day Bank Holiday?

Today I received a Reminder from Remindeo (an online reminder service) reminding me about the upcoming May Day Bank Holiday. Remember it is next Monday 4 May. (Actually Remindeo got the date wrong – it referred to 5 May) Don’t get up and go to work (unless of course your work demands it) like I once did having forgotten it was a bank holiday. Anyway, Remindeo gave an excerpt about May Day. See below

No work on Monday next week as it is May Day Bank Holiday / Early May Bank Holiday / Labour Day.

 The Fun Facts: May Day is related to the Celtic festival of Beltane and the Germanic festival of Walpurgis Night. May Day falls exactly half of 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 uncomfortable winter half of the year in the Northern hemisphere, and it has traditionally been an occasion for popular and often raucous celebrations, regardless of the locally prevalent political or religious establishment. As Europe became Christianised 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, and All Saint’s Day. In the twentieth century, many neopagans began reconstructing the old traditions and celebrating May Day as a pagan religious festival again. Source – Wikipedia (Wikipedia is an external website, outside of the Remindeo service): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/May_Day

Interesting. I was completely oblivious why we had a May Day holiday, for me it was just an excuse to stay in bed for a little bit longer.

But the word Mayday is also used as a Distress Call and there are other uses for it in the international arena as a little bit of exploration on my part to satisfy my curiosity revealed

  1. The Mayday procedure word originated in 1923 by Frederick Stanley Mockford (1897–1962). A senior radio officer at Croydon Airport inLondon, Mockford was asked to think of a word that would indicate distress and would easily be understood by all pilots and ground staff in an emergency.  Full story at Today I found Out

  2. and some more international definitions and usages here 

 So there you are !  When you’re lying in bed for an extra 15 minutes or more, you’ll know how May Day came to be and what it all means.


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Posted in History, Words

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