Right around this time in Rome, the common people gather for celebratory games in honor of the goddess Flora, whose beneficence causes the flowers to bloom every May after the long and terrible winter. Well, that’s what they did right around this time in Rome 2600 years ago, anyway. Today, May 1st celebrations toasting the arrival of spring are held around the world. In Britain, revelers elect the May Queen and dance round the maypole with gaily colored ribbons and in France they give a sprig of lily of the valley to loved ones. In Ireland, they light bonfires to banish winter’s long nights and in some parts of the United States they make May Baskets filled with flowers and treats, leave it on the stoops of their secretly admired, ring the doorbell, and run away. We asked some of our coworkers at CSOFT’s Beijing headquarters what they intend to do for May Day.
Nana: “I’m going to give myself a present.”
Diana: “Take an extra day off and do my laundry.”
Francoise: “Have a rest at home.”
Angelina: “Have a 3-day vacation!”
Alma: “I’ll take the day off.”
Though the roots of May Day run historically deep, for many modern-day celebrants the holiday was really born in 1886 in Chicago where, tired of working 16 hours a day in unsafe conditions for little pay, 300,000 factory workers walked off the job and onto the streets. What started as an American workingman’s struggle went global when the Second International – a labor rights organization – declared May 1st “International Workers’ Day.” Some of our colleagues focused on this aspect of the holiday.
Sylvia: “It’s a day to remember those who are underpaid, particularly those in developing countries who support their families on the most meager of incomes, and it’s about fighting for their rights.”
Tanny: “May Day is when working people all over the world should step back from whatever they call work and reflect on their job and its role in society. It’s a day of reflection.”
Kirby: “For anybody working anywhere, International Workers’ Day is a chance to enjoy and celebrate what they contribute to global society.”
Whatever May Day means to you and however you choose to celebrate it, all of us at CSOFT wish you a very happy, very healthy May holiday.
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