The history of the Early May Bank HolidayMay 3, 2013 by The Co-operative Food
This is an exciting time of year.
Easter herald in a series of holidays that takes us from late March right through to the end of May.
The hour changes at the end of March and suddenly we have our evenings back.
All over the place buds are bursting out in the countryside and even on roadsides as nature evolves again from winterâ€™s grey to a vibrant and fresh green.
The early May Bank Holiday brings with it the start of the festivities that happen up and down the country. Dancing around the May Pole on May Day is a celebration of fertility that may stem from as far back as pre-Christian times and honouring the Roman Goddess Flora.
Flora? Now thereâ€™s a cue for what my family will be up to in early May this year. I grew up in Cornwall and as often as I can I head back to the far west.
On the 8th of May we join in the jolly madness thatâ€™s Helston Flora Day, and itâ€™s usually so crowded that it seems as if the whole of Cornwall comes along too. Itâ€™s usually held on 8th May unless that happens to be a Sunday or Monday.
Helston Flora is a full day of dancing that kicks off at 7.00am, and includes a play-come-dance called the Hal An Tow. This is a re-enactment of Saint George killing the dragon along with a few other legends thrown in for good measure! If you can make it to Helston then do try a drop of Spingo â€“ itâ€™s a beer brewed in the Blue Anchor pub, with a special strong version for Flora Day, go easy though, itâ€™s no normal ale!
Of course May Day isnâ€™t just about welcoming the spring and having a day off, May Day is also International Labour Day which is recognised in 80 or more nations across the world. It commemorates events that led to the granting of the eight hour working day and fairer treatment of the workforce.
Letâ€™s be optimistic and clean off the barbecue ready for the Monday 6th May holiday. The Co-operative British 4 Beef Quarterpounders are ÂŁ3 each and buy one pack get one free (offer ends 21st May 2013). And if youâ€™re inviting friends and family for a party, this weekend only 190g tubes of Pringles Original/ Sour Cream and Onions are better than half price (offer ends 6th May 2013).