Two Major Themes of May Day
May Day is a festival that carries significance in countries all around the world. There are two main themes to May Day, one more modern and the other more ancient and primal. Unsurprisingly, it is the modern that has dominated in the last century, though perhaps one could argue that there is a revival taking place that focuses more on the traditional, ancient aspects of this May festival.
The Older Theme
What are these two themes then? The older one is ①linked to nature and celebration of its rebirth with the arrival of spring and the promise of summer. In fact what became the Christian festival of Easter imbibed much influence from this earlier, pagan rooted nature focused festival.
The Political Theme of May Day
However, in the last 120 years May Day has been dominated by a political theme. Of course, as everyone in China knows very well May Day is a celebration of the worker and has been particularly observed in socialist countries around the world. The origins of this socialist festival lie in America where it was initially a day of remembrance for those punished for their part in an incident related to the campaign for an 8-hour working day.
A movement had been building amongst American workers campaigning for a law protecting them to ensure that their employers could not demand that they work more than the 8 hours a day that the workers deemed reasonable if they were to enjoy some standard of life.
theme /F1m/ n.(谈话，写作等的)题目；意义
primal /`praim9l/ adj.最初的
revival /ri`vaiv9l/ n.苏醒；复兴
imbibe /im`baib/ v.吸收
pagan /`peiG9n/ adj.异教的
observe /9b`z8v/ v.纪念；庆祝
① be linked to 与……有关
A: New research shows that some birth defects are linked to smoking during pregnancy.
B: Really? I must quit smoking.
This culminated in strikes on May 1st 1886, at which there were no incidents. However, three days later at the Haymarket, Chicago, eight police died when a bomb was thrown. A number of workers were tried and executed for the murder on rather spurious evidence which was shown to be unreliable just a few years later. It was from that year that May 1st began to be a day of worker solidarity and ②protest against the factory owners and exploiting employers.