May Day

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May Day

Post by sine » Apr 30th 2003, 10:30 pm

Have a happy and joyous May Day, everyone!

Actually, I don't know how widespread the celebration of the first of May is. But now you have a chance to enlighten me/others on this subject! :)

Here in Finland May Day -- or 'vappu' -- is a holiday and, I think, most visibly a students' festival celebrated around the country with varying customs. The most popular/common method of celebrating seems to be boozing, more or less. :D While students do the most of celebrating during the evening/night of April 30th, May Day as a workers' festival is manifested mainly through demontrations and walks/marches taking place during the 1st of May. Special dishes: mead ('sima'), May Day fritter ('tippaleipä') and doughnuts ('munkki'), all preferably homemade. (Actually the names of the dishes doesn't translate too well to English... anyways, you might get an idea about these via recipes on As always, I probably couldn't even scratch the surface in depicting Finnish Vappu to you, so feel free to search the web to find more info (there seemed to be fairly many English pages on the subject.)

Iloista vappua! Toivottavasti aatto oli vähäsateinen, mutta kuitenkin sopivan kostea ;)
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D: barely, but let's pretend that I am

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Post by Natasha (candygirl) » Apr 30th 2003, 10:51 pm

May Day is not a holiday in the United States the way it is Finland - we don't get a day off from work or school to celebrate. When I was younger, I remember celebrating May Day at school with picnics or parties, but we never had one of those May poles with the ribbons (much to my dismay). I think the last time we did something at school for May Day was sixth grade - we made baskets and filled them with flowers. No drinking or marching for us!
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Post by starbug » May 1st 2003, 5:07 am

May Day is special here in the UK too. Today there are demonstrations against globalisation (and just about everything else you care to demonstrate against too), but this isn't really tradition; it's more just a convenient day for everyone to express views, and has been going on for the last 5 years or so.

However we do have a holiday (the first Monday in May) - we don't have to work, shops are closed and people have a nice long weekend. Lovely. :)


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Post by Sascha » May 1st 2003, 7:31 am

May 1st is a labor movement holiday here in Germany - there are demonstrations in the bigger cities, mostly organised by the social worker parties and unions. This year they are also demonstrating against globalisation, social cuts, Iraq war etc.

Sadly, May 1st demonstrations often escalate in violent riots in Berlin. The Berlin districts Kreuzberg and Prenzlauer Berg are the typical places where the situation gets out of hand. Last night, masked youths threw stones and bottles at the police after a rock concert leaving 20 officers injured. The same is expected for tonight. Over 7,000 police officers are gathered in the city. Even the Nazis get out of their dirty holes on this day, demonstrating in Berlin for whatever s**t they are demonstrating for, provoking leftist counter-demonstrators.

The night from April 30th to May Day is also known as "Witch Night" in some parts of Germany, it's a historical tradition to expel the winter in that night. Self-proclaimed "witches" are gathering around large bonfires celebrating nature. Of course there're lots of "normal" parties as well ;-) Another tradition is to play practical jokes in that night like putting tooth paste on doorknobs of other peoples houses, wall up passages, put toilet paper on cars - it's always entertaining to drive through smaller cities on the next morning, you'll see a lot of strange things :-)

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may day

Post by lance » May 1st 2003, 10:51 am


I have heard that May Day is a major holiday in many countries. This is not the case in the US. I think the various "Red Scares" combined with the Cold War pretty much nixed the idea here but good.

Celebration of the contibution of labor is usually reserved for our "Labor Day" which I believe is the first Monday in September.

sine thanks for posting this thread I am always pleased to learn about different holidays and how they are celebrated.

sab Love the new Avatar. Sorry to hear that things get so out of hand with May Day in Germany.

I can't think of any holiday at the moment where we would experience such chaos, although in the past we used to have the annual Christmas face off between the KKK and protestors here at Fountain Square. The KKK would try to put up a cross, protestors would knock it down. Repeat.

Also our Labor Days used to be much rowder. Here in Cincinnati on Labor Day we have a HUGE fireworks display the Sunday night proceeding the fireworks. Both sides of the Ohio river are crowded with people watching the display. Some people even have parties in their workplace because of the view of the river. In the past alcohol used to be allowed, but this resulted in the usual drunken mayhem and arrests. Been much calmer since alcohol was banned.


Lance Man

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