Posts Tagged "May Day"

May Day, Rhinos, and Mother Goose (and Ick)

Dear Kid,

It’s May 1 (Happy May!) which means it’s May Day, Save the Rhino Day, and Mother Goose Day.

Only a rhino needs a rhino horn. Save the rhinoceroses. DearKidLoveMom.comWe’ve talked about May Day (read about it here and here if you don’t remember) and we’ve talked about Saving Rhinos (here), but we haven’t really talked about Mother Goose.

Mostly because the seemingly innocent Mama Goose rhymes and stories are—when you get right down to it—creepy as all get out.

‘frigzample: Humpty Dumpty isn’t an egg. Mind blown, right? I don’t know who started drawing Sir Dumpty as an egg, but probably it was someone who could draw an oval more easily than he or she could draw King Richard III.

Humpty Dumpty (King Richard III) sat on a wall (actually a horse, but that’s also hard to draw). HD (KRIII) had a great fall. Yep, fell off his mount, yelled “My kingdom for a horse!” (didn’t get one). All the King’s horse and all the King’s men couldn’t put H together again. Well, when you think about it, how many horses are well known healers? (Centaurs don’t count.)

Then there’s Mary, Mary quite contrary. Turns out that “contrary” in this case means “homicidal psychopath” and the Mary in question is Queen Mary I. It further turns out that “silver bells” and “cockle shells” are medieval torture devices (she was a vicious woman, that QM I).

You know that Ring Around the Rosy is about the plague (because we watch NCIS and learn these things–I was going to include the relevant clip, but I just spent 2 hours looking for it and My Friend the Internet isn’t cooperating. Use your imagination.).

The list goes on, but it doesn’t get any nicer. Since today is a lovely nice day, I will stop with the gory tales (also because I am a sweet flower who is too delicate for such stories before coffee).

Save the Rhinos.

Love, Mom

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May Day and Mayday!

spring-tulips-for-may-dayDear Kid,

Today is the first day of May. This is an indisputable fact. Isn’t it nice to have an actual fact here?

In many cultures, May Day was/has been/is celebrated as a Spring Rite. (Not to be confused with the ballet*, although there was frequently dancing around a maypole.)

The most interesting fact I found is that in Hawaii May Day is also known as Lei Day. Lei Day was invented in the 1920s and is a day to celebrate Hawaiian island culture and spring.

Which is particularly interesting since originally February 1st was considered the first day of spring, making May 1st the first day of summer and midsummer (the summer solstice) the end of June and an excellent time for dreaming*. (Keep up—these are excellent arts references.)

So on the one hand we have a happy little pagan-based holiday, May Day, celebrating warmth, spring, the return of the flowers, and dancing ribbons. And with the removal of one little space, we have Mayday! Mayday! Mayday! the distress callsign. Turns out the mayday signal was invented in 1923 (are you taking notes?) in London, not as an insult to spring, but because the French phrase “venez m’aider” means “come help me.”

Mayday as a distress call must always be said 3 times, and it is about 12 kinds of illegal (and stupid) to use it in jest. Since I have no interest in visiting you in jail for 6 years and the fine is waaaay more than your tuition AND it would be bad for you to be in Real Distress, let’s just stick with celebrating spring, ‘k?

Happy May Day, kid.

Love, Mom


Igor Stravinsky’s ballet, The Rite of Spring
Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream

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