I'm always intrigued by the phenomena of how some things stay and others pass away. Christmas, for instance. Apparently, it is due to Dickens and maybe the fellow who wrote “Twas the Night Before Christmas” that we have the holiday we know and love today. But how is it that Christmas has remained when so many other masses, many of which were celebrated with great fanfare years ago, have passed away?
May Day used to be a major holiday, yet it is all but forgotten. It shows up here and there for small town festivals. Perhaps the Wicca still celebrate it with a pole and all, but mainly, it’s been forgotten. Even Cinco de Mayo is more famous.
At one time, the spring had May Day and the fall had All Saints Day, and both days had dark creepy eves. I wonder how it came about that Halloween has soared above nearly all its competitors,* while Walpurgisnacht (Witches Eve – April 30th) is all but forgotten (except by Luke Reynard, of course.)
*I recently was sent one of those ‘get to know your friends’ questions lists that asked “What is your favorite day of the year?” I put down “Halloween and Christmas.” The girl who sent it to me put down “Halloween” and the girl who I sent it to replied with “Halloween.” In my case, I have the excuse that my brother was born on Halloween, so our family always made a big deal of it. Not sure how the others came to their decision.
And when one looks at how popular certain now forgotten holidays are, one can’t help wondering which of our current holidays will eventually pass away and which will become bigger with time. Earth Day, for instance. I’m expecting it to grow, as everyone pushes it. Too bad they didn’t put it on May 1st. May Day could have made a comeback – rather appropriately, too, as it was originally a fertility festival. After all, what is trying to ‘save the earth” and get trees to grow but the same kind of thing the ancients were asking for when they wanted the earth not to be barren.
Alas, I suspect a “Move Earth Day to May Day” movement would never gain steam.
Happy Walpurgisnacht, everyone!