May Day Customs and Jokes
Here is Will and Guy's collection of humour for events in and around 1st of May.
As a world-wide day of celebration, the first of May probably ranks second only to New Year's day. Whereas everyone celebrates the New Year, albeit in different ways, May Day has many different customs depending on where in the world you live:
While May Day is now considered to be 1st May (or May 1st), Beltane or Walpurgis starts on the last evening of April and ends on 1st May. There is evidence that at in ancient times pagan celebrations occurred on the nearest full moon rather than the 1st of May. One thought that flashes through my mind is all the different drinks that people world-wide will use to toast May Day, for example beer in Bavaria (Germany), Sima in Savonlinna (Finland), cider in Cornwall and mead in Merthyr (Wales).
Two yokels were driving to the next village's May Day Fair. They came to a sign that said: May Day Fair Left. ... so they turned around and went home!
How to get to the fair
A townie was looking for the May Day Fair, he stopped and asked Jethro. 'Will this road take me to the May Day Fair?'
'Oh no,' said Jethro. 'You'll have to go by yourself!'
Fell off the back of a lorry - Guy's favourite May Day Joke
Freddie was looking at the animals section at the May Fair when a dirty, scruffy man came running in the opposite direction. He stopped and asked Freddie, 'Have you seen a cart load of pigs go this way?'
'No', said Freddie, 'Why did you fall off?'
A Balloon Ride to Nowhere
Norman decides to take a balloon ride on offer at the local May Day Fair. The balloon and its customers drift along in the breeze, but eventually they are lost. Norman has no idea where he is, so when the gondolier takes the basket down to ten feet above ground he calls to a passer-by: 'Excuse me, sir, can you tell me where I am?'
After looking Norman up and down, the passer-by says: 'You are in a red balloon, ten feet above ground.' The balloon's unhappy resident replied, 'You must be a lawyer'
'How could you possible know that?' asked the passer-by. 'Because your answer is technically correct but absolutely useless, and the fact is I am still lost'.
'Then you must be in management', said the passer-by. 'That's right! How did you know?' 'You have such a good view from where you are, and yet you don't know where you are and you don't know where you are going. The fact is you are in the exact same position you were in before we met, but now your problem is somehow my fault!'
The Maypole is certainly a symbol of courtship, and in many celebrations, of fertility. On constant theme is a dance with one or more virgin girls at the center of the rituals. My favourite celebrations is where the girls hold white ribbons, and dance clockwise, whereas the boys have red ribbons and dance counter-clockwise.
The English county of Cornwall has a long history, and a rich tradition of May pole dances, especially at Helston and Padstow.
A bus full of blind people on a May day outing stop at "The White Swan" pub near Dorchester, Dorset, England. The coach driver asks if some of the lads can have a game of football on the car park out the back.
'How can they do that?' asks Rory, the landlord. 'Seeing as they are blind and all.'
'Well, it's quite easy,' says Alex, the driver. 'They have a special ball with bells in so they can hear it.'
Nothing much happens for fifteen minutes or so when all of a sudden all hell breaks loose. Police cars, ambulances, fire engines, the lot! Policeman rushes into the public bar.
'What on earth is going on?' asks Alex, the coach driver.
'We have had a report of a bunch of louts kicking a Morris dancer's head around the car park.'
Move May Day Holiday?
With a little luck, it'll be too cold for Morris dancers!
The Solent Coastguard
'Mayday, Mayday, Mayday this is yacht Corporate Engineering Solutions, Corporate Engineering Solutions, Corporate Engineering Solutions. Over.'
'Mayday this is Solent Coastguard. Can you give me your position sir. Over.'
'Solent Coastguard this is yacht Corporate Engineering Solutions. I'm a director in a small engineering company. Over.'
The origin of Jack-in-the-Green can be traced to May Day celebrations in general, and chimney sweeps in particular. There is even a suspicion that Jack-in-the-Green goes back to the Normans and the Bayeux tapestry (see right).
Jack-in-the-Green has obvious associations with Robin Hood, and became a central character in 16th Century English May Day celebrations. About 1830 the chimney sweeps took Jack-in-the-Green as their mascot for their May Day parades. These sweeps made Jack-in-the-Green one of the most noticeable and feared characters in May Day parades.
However, by late Victorian times chimney sweeps were in decline and moreover, the May Day celebrations became more sedate, for these and other changes in fashion, Jack-in-the-Green died out. Until he was resurrected in Whitstable, Kent in 1976, and then in Hastings, England by the Mad Jacks Morris Dancers in 1983.
The May Day bank holiday is used for traditional festivals such as the Stilton Cheese rolling competition
May Day Poem
Round the maypole - round and round
A May Day Carol
Awake, awake, my pretty prithy maid,
The May Day festival is significant because it falls nearly midway between the spring equinox and the summer solstice. The other cross-quarter days correspond to the festivals of Candlemas (Imbolc), Beltane (May Day), and Halloween.
Actual Cross-quarter Dates
Will and Guy digress to bring you a different connotation of the word 'mayday'; namely, venez m'aider, come to my aid, which is used as an international distress call. Check out our amusing video: Mayday - Sinking Feeling
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