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Mayday activites in Sheffield

ForwardSlash | 29.04.2004 19:19 | May Day 2004 | Culture | Social Struggles | Sheffield

Colonised by many a creed over time, Mayday still is a time for people across the world to celebrate there togetherness, and desires for a greater future.

The festival of Beltane has been since.. well forever. A fire festival symbolising the beginning of the season of light, a festival of fertility and of creativity with raucous fun. The May Queen would be elected to rule the crops until harvest, and the Green Man or Robin Goodfellow would be Lord of Misrule. Priests and Kings were the butt of jokes and local authority would be mocked.


This irreverence to authority was not appreciated by the state and Mayday was banned in the 1600's. As agrarian life moved into the industrial revolution traditions continued though. Sweeps dessed up as women or the aristocracy, sang songs and collected money, milk maids persuaded the dairymen to give their milk yield freely. Soot and milk bringing Mayday into the Industrial revolution.

The modern history of Mayday comes from the struggle of workers rights

Federation of Organized Trades and Labor Unions of the United States and Canada asserted that "eight hours shall constitute a legal day's work from and after May 1, 1886, and that we recommend to labor organizations throughout this district that they so direct their laws as to conform to this resolution".

On May Day 1947 auto workers in Paris downed tools, and marched from Republique to Concorde. The Strike Committee printed 100,000 copies of a leaflet which called for a general strike.

Mayday has always been a time of collective celebration and of resistance to power.

Its a time to question the way things are and demand something better. Isn't it time we had streets where people could walk, cycle and breathe in safety, rather than ones dominated by motor vehicles; a public transport system run for people's needs and not for profit; societies across the world where people had control over their own lives and communities rather then having things dictated by big-business and governments?

This year in Sheffield

Fight debt and financial exclusion on the Sheffield Moor, 1st May. Help promote credit unions, locally based savings and loan cooperatives which help their members save and borrow.

Members of Sheffield Social Forum and others will be raising the issue of personal and global debt on Sheffield Moor. Use Credit Unions as a local solution to personal debt.

Help grow a greener world in Abbeyfield Park Burngreave Sheffield, 2nd May

* Subsidized compost bin sale - compost display, information and advice.
* Build a solar car
* Make a recycled sculpture for display at the festival
* Help make a plastic bottle 'greenhouse'
and more ..

For information of events nationally and internationally see the events section on

or check the Schnews

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Display the following 3 comments

  1. More Mayday History — Chris
  2. SSF Debt Leaflet — ssf'er
  3. Mayday event: a clarification — sheffone