Somewhere, lost between the risen Lord of Easter Sunday and the more laid-back Dos Equis guy of Cinco de Mayo, is the Roman flower goddess Flora, who used to reign supreme as THE party icon this time of year.
Nowadays, any May Pole dancing is purely coincidental, at strip clubs, with the only reference to Flora the flower goddess being dancers named “Daisy.” How did a celebration dating back before Jesus somehow get lost in the shuffle between Easter eggs and Mexican beer bottles?
Even when I was a kid, which I’d like to point out was well after the resurrection and as recent as the 1970s A.D., I remember dancing around the sixth-grade May Pole and savoring the opportunity to hold hands with Sara Getlost as she cried out in springtime rapture, “Ewww! Ewww! Your hands are SWEATY! Ewww!”
It’s that kind of wild, springtime ecstasy that May Day and the goddess Flora were all about.
So what happened? Or perhaps more importantly: Is Sara Getlost now an alcoholic single mother of six living in an abandoned trailer, as my Mom predicted in her loving attempt to console me that school year? We’ll probably never know for sure. But even at age 12, I thought my Mom’s prediction was a bit harsh; I wouldn’t wish six kids on anyone. Regardless, what I do know is that the true spirit of unabashed springtime revelry was lost somewhere between holding sweaty hands with Sara Getlost and the first Girls Gone Wild video. I say this because, unlike Easter and Cinco De Mayo, the goddess Flora’s party was open to everyone.
And because Flora’s annual May Day party had no stipulations or restrictions, it was celebrated for centuries by every country in the Northern Hemisphere.
Except Morocco; they already have enough parties.
For the rest of us, dancing around the May Pole was just the beginning. Each country celebrated the return of spring in its own unique, generally intoxicated way, which was inclusive to everyone. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying you have to be Mexican to celebrate Cinco de Mayo. I’m just saying that if you find yourself drunk and wearing a sombrero while wandering the streets of East L.A., being Mexican wouldn’t hurt.
As May Day approaches, I hope you’ll consider joining me and others in helping re-unite the entire northern hemisphere on May 1 by celebrating spring with flower goddess Flora. Naturally, there will be exciting activities for everyone, including:
Together, we an make May Day great again!
Actually, my hands are getting sweaty just thinking about it…
This post first appeared at the now defunct Long Awkward Pause on April 28, 2014.