Today is May Day. But is that still a thing? Does anyone still practice it? Does anyone besides old fogies like me even know what it is?
Just to be clear, I’m not talking about a mariner’s distress call—that would be mayday. I’m speaking of the long past custom of, on the first day of May, placing flowers on someone’s doorstep, ringing the bell and then running away before they answer the door—known as May Day.
When I was a kid, this was fairly common. We did it every year, sometimes to more than one person. It was fun, not only for me but I’m pretty sure the people who got the flowers enjoyed it as well. But it’s been years since I’ve heard of anyone engaging in the May Day practice.
Perhaps the tradition died off because there isn’t an app for it. If it can’t be done on a phone or tablet, no one is interested. And May Day does require a bit, just a bit, of physical activity, instead of merely clicking on a button.
Or, perhaps the custom went away due to another reason. With the growing trend these days of characterizing harmless activities as destructive or even villainous, I can see the whole May Day thing being labeled as criminal mischief or some such illegal behavior. And I can hear some “concerned” official explaining how frightening such a thing could be for a little old lady who lives alone. (Nevermind that if she’s older than 40 or so, she’s probably quite familiar with May Day).
I seriously doubt that anyone would be frightened by receiving flowers in such a manner. And I also have my doubts that any criminal is going to take the time to arrange a nice bouquet of flowers and then go to the trouble of delivering those flowers to his “victim.” Criminals usually don’t want to put that much work into anything.
But for argument’s sake, let’s say that some poor old woman is scared out of her wits by finding a bouquet at her door. If she really believed she was in danger, couldn’t she just send out a mayday call? Sorry, I guess I was talking about May Day in the sense of a distress call after all. ~