A BANK HOLIDAY WEEKEND - today, the 1st of May, is traditionally known as May Day.
An ANCIENT FESTIVAL, May Day, like many other festivals, is traditionally a day of pagan celebration and fertility rites that dates back way before Christianity. Important to the Druids who saw it as the day which divided the year in two, it was also celebrated by the Romans (who then occupied the British Isles) in honour of the flower goddess, FLORA.
Sad to say but most of these ancient customs and traditions - MAYPOLE DANCING included - are slowly dying out and May Day (certainly here in the North East of England) is a some what 'none-event' unless you live in one of the mainly rural villages that still celebrate the 'old ways'.
Certainly not an old tradition, and I'm not too sure it has it's roots in fertility rites (probably not), tomorrow, Sunday, is World Laughter Day.
Strange, when just this week I was reading this article that states:-
Laughter can unleash the same changes in the body's chemistry as a quick bout of physical exercise. People who watch funny movies experienced the same hormonal changes that follow exercise, which are thought to boost appetite. The findings could lead to the development of better ways to encourage healthy eating among patients who have gone off their food because of depression or other conditions. (Always laughing and finding it difficult to loose weight, now I know why.)
The study builds on previous work which suggested that prolonged laughter can lower blood pressure and boost immune activity. "It may indeed be true that laughter is a good medicine" said Lee Berk, who led the research.
- Ian Sample reporting in the Guardian, click HERE for the full article.
Anyway, I digress,
Set up in 1998 by Madan Kataria, founder of the Yoga Laughter Movement*, WORLD LAUGHTER DAY is "a positive manifestation for world peace, intended to build up a global consciousness of brotherhood and friendship through laughter. Its popularity has grown exponentially with that of the Laughter Yoga movement (now counting over 6000 Laughter Clubs worldwide on all 5 continents)"
* I don't know about me laughing, I merely found their Laughter Yoga Meditation video (click HERE to view) irritating in the extreme - what did you think of it?