This time of year isn’t easy for students and is often dreaded by many. Spending your days endlessly studying to meet deadlines and remembering everything you need to know for your exams. But in the end, those hours you put into revision will pay off as you graduate and enter the world of work. And while you might find yourself working some longer hours now and again in employment, the typical working day will be eight hours a day.
But did you know that our ancestors in London were also thinking a lot about eight hour days too? So much so that almost 1027 years ago to the day, 300,000 of them were demonstrating in Hyde Park in support of a change in legislation for an eight-hour working day – as opposed to the 10 to 16 hour days they were experiencing. And that demonstration was just the beginning of what we now know as May Day.
So, not only do we have our ancestors to thank for the eight hour working day, but also for the extra day off and the long weekend ahead for May Day. How will you be celebrating the long weekend? Well, if you’ve not got any plans and want a break from your revision, why not take some inspiration from others? Here are some fun facts about how people around the globe celebrate May Day:
In Germany, the night before May Day, men cover trees with streamers outside the house of a girl he likes. Whilst the women place flowers or rice in the form of a heart at the house of their beloved one.
It is tradition in Greece to pick flowers and use them to create a May Day wreath to hang on your door.
In France, Lily of the Valley or Dog Rose flowers are given as a symbol of springtime.
Towns across Finland see statues crowned with student caps.
In Bulgaria, rituals are followed to protect people from lizards and snakes, as their May holiday is associated with these ravenous reptiles.
Students in St Andrews in Scotland run into the sea at sunrise to celebrate spring. This often involves very little clothes…!
If you head to Durham in the northeast of England, you’ll come across another student tradition to celebrate Spring. Students gather on Prebends Bridge to see sunrise, and they celebrate with a BBQ breakfast, folk music, dancing and singing.
The Italian’s celebrate Spring with a seasonal feast.
And what about here in London? Well, the traditional way to celebrate May Day include Morris dancing, the crowning of a May Queen and dancing around a Maypole. But, if you don’t fancy doing that, then here are some top events going on in and around the city this weekend.
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