Remembering May Day

Why, from the California coast to across the Great Plains,
do we prefer hot sauce, tacos and cerveza
over Maypole dances under the pink full moon?
Where are our garlanded May Queens, our front door
baskets dropped in secret with drumming heartbeat?
Wasn’t the green beer of March festive enough?
Where have all the flowers gone?

Inspired by a #paintchipprompt.

When I was in second grade in Colorado, we still performed a Maypole dance with silken ribbons in our sweaty hands to celebrate May first. When I was in 3rd grade in Hawaii, each class presented a dance from a different country on May Day – ours was Panama. I don’t remember celebrating the holiday since then, although I sometimes sing what I can remember of “May Day is Lei Day….” A few years ago, while working for the Wharton Films project to recover stories of our local area in the Great Depression, I was able to interview a former May Queen.
Is there any chance of bringing back those traditions?
There are many theories about why people in the U.S. would rather drink to the Battle of Puebla on May 5th than make paper baskets of flowers for neighbors’ doorsteps on the first. I think it’s because no one has figured out how to make money from it. However, I wouldn’t want to give up Cinco de Mayo, so why not celebrate two weekends in a row?

P.S., This year, one of my friends sent me a greeting on May 5th.

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