(once upon a time…a folk festival of happy liberation from Winter’s woes…)

We doubt there are any folks around today who could recall what May Day was originally all about. That is, when once upon a time it was a folk festival of happy liberation from Winter’s woes…not to mention the “glummers” from all that teasing of soggy and windy Spring which usually followed on any Winter’s heels.

Back then it was a time of gaily decorated May Poles and attached lines set up in every square, around which folks sang and cavorted around them in gay abandon, round and round, until they all ended in merrily exhausted heaps at their bases from somewhat un-decorous drinking and amorous bits of byplay in the process…which is why we suspect so many clergy of those times fulminated against it…and also suspect that could have been the true inspiration for good old Ludvig van Beethoven’s musical  masterpiece…Ode To Joy.

We have to admit we’ve never seen a May Pole, or enjoyed its reputed allowable bits of license for the occasion. All of that was way before even our own youthful years. About the closest things which are perhaps remnant echoes of that festival’s spirit…are our own experiences with high schools’ Prom Night, and colleges’ traditions with Spring Break.

Now days, of course, May Day is no longer just a happy folk-festival full of such fun and frolic…but one of demonstrations and protests about anything…and everything…as an excuse and license for anarchic bouts of violent brawls and confrontations with police making any attempt to put a damper on their excesses of behavior. Merrymaking with drink and dance has been replaced by Molotov cocktails, tear gas, and sharply applied batons (not to mention a rock or two, and other assorted missiles).   

Well, that’s as the world turns as they say, but if that’s considered “progress”, it’s surely not the basis for inspiring any latter-day musical genius to compose another…Ode To Joy.