On this date…
Meme via Hythia. I’m supposed to search Google for the date of my birth and come up with some births, some deaths, and some interesting facts.
1852 – Calamity Jane, American Wild West performer (d. 1903)
1881 – Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, French palaeontologist and philosopher (d. 1955)
1873 – David Livingstone, Scottish missionary (b. 1813)
1904 – Antonín Dvo?ák, Czech composer (b. 1841)
1886 – The start of the general strike which eventually wins the eight-hour workday in the United States. These events are today commemorated as May Day or Labor Day in most industrialized countries.
1930 – The planet Pluto is officially named.
1956 – The polio vaccine developed by Jonas Salk is made available to the public.
May Day is exactly a half-year from November 1, All Saints’ Day. Marking the end of the uncomfortable winter half of the year in the Northern hemisphere, it has always been an occasion for popular and often raucous celebrations, regardless of the political or religious establishment. May Day was also originally the Celtic holiday Beltane, the “Return of the Sun”. It is the third and last of the spring festivals. We can see traces of Beltaine when dancing around the maypole or sending a basket of flowers to your neighbor’s door.
Other holidays on May Day were also respected by some early European settlers of the American continent. The day also marks springtime celebrations such as:
* Walpurgis Night in Northern Europe, including the Finnish Vappu celebrations
* Beltane in Ireland and Scotland
* Calendimaggio in Northern and Central Italy, related to the return of the sun and spring
* May Morning in Oxford
* Hamilton College hosts an annual music outdoor music festival known as “May Day.” However the name has no political connotations or association with other May Day holidays. Rather the name simply refers to the fact that the festival is staged in late April or early May.
In Hawaii, May Day is also known as Lei Day, and is normally set aside as a day to celebrate island culture in general and native Hawaiian culture in particular. In rural regions of Germany, Walpurgisnacht celebrations of pagan origin are traditionally held on the night before May Day, including bonfires and the wrapping of May Poles, and young people use this opportunity to party, while the day itself is used by many families to get some fresh air, wurst and beer. Motto: “Tanz in den Mai!” (“Dance in May!”).
Side Note: If anybody knows of a place where I can find the birthdates of fictional characters, let me know. I wanted to add some to the list, but I couldn’t think of any.