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May Day is a celebration honored throughout Europe. Its origins date back to pre-Christian agricultural rituals. Many of these celebrations involved a procession of trees, green branches or garlands. Also, many times a May king and queen are appointed. The celebration is usually centered around the May Pole. The Maypole was thought to be a fertility symbol and a representation of the tree of life. In the past, some cultures also used it as a marker of the center of the world! Weaving ribbons around and around the center, or the pole, became a symbol of restoring order to nature and banishing chaos.

Great amounts of food, bright, lavish costumes and practiced ritual dancing were a big part of the celebrations. Flowers and greens were everywhere around the Maypole. The celebration was one of great energy and widely anticipated each year.

Originally these celebrations were intended to ensure fertility to the crops in the region. Over the centuries, this intention has been lost and the surviving festivities are simply social events for the communities they involve. May Day is a time-honored holiday and is still celebrated throughout the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy and Russia. It's also observed in Brazil, China and the Philippines. The wonderful flowers, greens, food and costumed dancers are still a part of the festivities!

So, check out the May Day celebration in a European community this year. Personally, you might find you'll really enjoy "banishing a little chaos"! This is one tradition that seems worth keeping.