May 1, also called May Day is the welcoming of the change of season and the end of winter in the Northern Hemisphere. In many ancient calendars it was also the first day of summer celebrated by harvesting flowers and giving them to neighbors and strangers in cone-shaped baskets, commonly known as "May Day Baskets." Another popular tradition of May Day involved the maypole as villagers would enter the woods to find a maypole that was set up for the day in small towns and as a part of the day's festivities people would dance around the pole clad with colorful streamers and ribbons. Later, in the 19th century, May Day took on a new meaning, as an International Workers' Day that grew out of the labor rights movement and an eight-hour work day in the United States. Today, May Day is an official holiday in 66 countries and unofficially celebrated in many more. Check out the new flash cards on Country Flags of North & Central America. Read about the Festivals Around the World in this week's editor's pick along with the new releases Librarian & Multiplication activities for Grade 3 and 4.
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