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Celebrating. . . May Day
Celebrating. . . May Day

Although its origins can be traced back to Roman times, May Day celebrations have a distinct and traditional feeling wherever they are being held.

Taking place on the first day of May, every year millions of people enjoy celebrating May Day, spending time unwinding with their friends and family as they are given an extra day off work. But just how did May Day come into being? And how do people choose to celebrate it?

Origins and Interpretations

From exchanging gifts in Italy to singing songs in Spain, it is rare that you will find two countries that celebrate May Day in the same manner – one of the main reasons why May Day is so special. With several nations across the northern hemisphere offering their own creative twist, the world's rich tapestry shines ever-bright on May 1st each and every year.

Compare, for example, the historic traditions of Germany and Britain. Whereas Germany used May 1st to honour St. Walburga – the Saint celebrated for bringing Christianity to Germany – in 19th century Britain, May 1st was the date chosen for 'International Workers Day' – a day in which workers would unite and protest against unfair working conditions, pay and hours.

If you think you would like to experience May Day through the eyes of another nation, here are a few of our favourite places to welcome in the new summer season.

Springtime Venice

Shying away from its ancient roots, Italy uses May 1st as a day to commemorate the labour union movement and its achievements throughout Europe in the 20th century.

Up and down the country, May 1st is seen as an opportunity to see friends, attend concerts and unwind in some of the nation's finest locations. One such location is Venice – a city like no other.

Boasting intricate waterways, gothic architecture and a romantic feel that walks hand in hand with spring, Venice is the perfect place to soak up the early rays of the Italian spring. For the perfect place to stay, try San Clemente Palace Kempinski. Featuring a luxurious spa and serene location, why not make this May Day one to remember?

Beautiful Berchtesgaden

While many see May Day as an opportunity to immerse themselves in the hustle and bustle of a new city, there are plenty of people who want nothing more but to relax and unwind in a more rural retreat.

By visiting Germany on the night of April 30th, you will be able to immerse yourself in the wonder of Witches Night – an event that involves the burning of wood to scare witches away – before dancing around the May pole the very next day.

If you would rather celebrate May Day from the comfort of a luxurious hotel though, you can do that too. For such people, nothing comes close to the sheer splendour that is on offer at Kempinski Hotel Berchtesgaden.

Blossoming Britain

When it comes to getting involved in a touch of May Day revelry, Great Britain is one of the world's most enthusiastic nations.

Although there are some – most notably Catholics – who choose to celebrate May 1st in a religious sense, the majority of British people use May Day as an opportunity to welcome in the new, warmer season, casting out the wet and windy weather.

Notable traditions include dancing around colourful May Poles, Morris dancing, and the crowning of local women as May Queens. From inner-city parties to quaint village fetes, if you are looking to sample the British culture in all its green and pleasant glory, the month of May is the perfect time to do so.

May Day is a joy to experience, and perhaps the quintessential European springtime festival. If you would like to find out if your favourite Kempinski location is close to any festivities this May, please feel free to get in touch.

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