Profile of May Day in Greece

    May Day has a double meaning. On the one hand, it is International Workers Day, a holiday first popularized by the Soviet Union to honour and celebrate the economic and social achievements of workers, established in 1880’s. Despite the fact that it has lost many of its communist associations, it is still vigorously celebrated in former Soviet-bloc countries and other places in Europe. You can expect worker’s groups and unions to be active that day; major strikes are often scheduled for May Day.
    Since May Day corresponds with the peak of the flower season, flower shows and festivals are common, having their roots back in ancient societies of Greece and Rome. The ancient Minoans are believed to have celebrated one of their two “New Year” celebrations around this time – the other was in October.
    One very common commemoration is the making of a May wreath which is hung on doorways, balconies, in chapels, and many other places. Keep an eye out for them because most of them are really colorful and attractive, signing people’s pleasure and excitement about the new beginning of nature, life, peace and happiness. People usually enjoy small trips, listen to traditional music and dance, as well as have a break with a picnic in the countryside. In some places in Greece, daughters-in-law and girls in traditional costumes collect flowers and exchange nature’s goods.


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