August 10, 2022

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Maypoles are traditionally used to celebrate May Day (Picture: Getty) Pinch, punch, first of the...
May Day Pole
Maypoles are traditionally used to celebrate May Day (Picture: Getty)

Pinch, punch, first of the month. Happy May Day!

May Day has been celebrated across the world for over 2,000 years and in the UK, the first of the two bank holidays that fall in the month is in celebration of the occasion.

Though for 2022, it is the only May bank holiday, as the second has been moved to June for The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee long weekend.

Before you prepare your May Day celebrations this bank holiday – perhaps scouring out the best beer gardens near you – let’s take a look at just what May Day is and why we celebrate it.

When is May Day 2022?

May Day falls on May 1 every year, although people generally celebrate the day over the course of the early May bank holiday weekend.

The May Day bank holiday takes place on Monday, May 2 this year.

a maypole
Do you know why, or how, people celebrate May Day? (Picture: Getty Images)

Why do we celebrate May Day?

May Day is a public holiday that traditionally marks the arrival of spring.

In Roman times, they would commemorate the day with the Floralia – or Festival of Flora – Flora is the goddess of fruit and flowers.

This took place in late April/early May during that period of history.

Roman Catholics began observing May Day a little more recently in the 18th Century.

Devotions were made to the Virgin Mary – often in the form of floral crowns – May 1 is also a feast day for Mary’s husband St Joseph The Worker.

Children Dancing Around Maypole in a green field.
Some commeorate May Day by dancing around a Maypole and selecting a May Queen (Picture: Getty)

These days, some people celebrate May Day by crowning a May Queen and dancing around a maypole.

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Maypoles are thought to have first appeared in Germany and the surrounding areas.

Where this particular tradition comes from is unclear, but one theory is that making maypoles began as pagan tradition of cutting down young trees and putting them in the ground to mark the coming of summer.

MORE : The full list of 2022 bank holidays in the UK

MORE : These are the best events in London this Bank Holiday weekend

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