May Day of Conflicting Attitudes

Christine Chappelle, Photography Editor

May Day. The one day of the year where on one street kids are handing out flowers to their neighbors and friends and on the next, a demonstration of people march down the street.

News stations pay a lot of attention to the violence that arises out of the demonstrations, which often overshadows a day that is supposed by celebrate peace and springtime.

Why is it that one day is home to two entirely different types of celebration?

The festive and colorful celebration of spring on May first dates back before Roman times, and became popular in the eighteenth century. Since then, people in America have celebrated May Day by making May Baskets with flowers and treats left at doorsteps.

Then in the late nineteenth century, May first was chosen by a celebration of International Workers’ Day, a celebration of laborers and the working class. IWD  is not celebrated in the United State because it is considered a socialist holiday. Instead, we celebrate Labor Day on September first. Although not a national holiday in the United States, May Day demonstrations are common features in cities around the US, often gaining attention for their violent nature.

The May Day protests have become infamous as anti-capitalist. In Seattle last year, police pepper-sprayed and arrested six people because their protests became violent, but it is the first amendment right of Americans to protest the capitalist system they live in.

May first, the day where people show their affection for each other by giving flowers to anticipate the coming summer months, and also the day that people around the world rally in demonstrations to raise ruckus about socialism.

With the newly erupted Baltimore protests, the line between protesting and rioting is becoming even more blurred.