May Day celebrations have been in existence since pre-Christian Europe when May 1st symbolized the first day of summer. The UK, Europe and America celebrate May Day with pole dancing (of the Maypole variety) and the crowing of a Queen of May.
The UK celebrates by holding Morris dancing, a type of folk music where dancers wave sticks and handkerchiefs. A teenage girl is crowned the May Queen and gets to wear a crown and ride at the front of the parade and people dance around a maypole, which is a tall wooden pole which used to be a permanent fixture in many British towns and villages. The maydayrun has also been a popular fixture for the last 30 years and thousands of motorbikes travel over 89km from London to Hastings. In Scotland students pile into the North Sea at sunrise on May Day often naked!
In France, people give bunches of lily of the valley flowers in exchange for a kiss, which originated from when King Charles IX gave his ladies of the court the flower on May Day.
In Germany May Day is celebrated with bonfires, wrapping the maypoles and a great opportunity to party.
America celebrates with May baskets which are filled with flowers and treats and left on people’s doorsteps anonymously, a bit like a nicer version of Knock Knock Ginger, Postman’s Knock etc.