I've written about cross quarter days before here
. They are the days halfway between solstice and equinox. You can certainly see some psychological aspects of the differing ones. Take, for example, February 2, now denigrated to a hack binary divination from a marmot. But what are we worried about halfway between the beginning of Winter and the start of Spring? Certainly the main one for early people is how long will Winter last? It is just as easy to see that halfway from the end of Summer to Winter, on November 1, we would be worried about the death of all things so we make that all Souls day, and follow it with the day of the dead (and in modern America, the emphasis is on dressing up and extorting sugar from neighbors.)
But what is May 1st about? It used to be sex, the Maypole is a phallic figure. Ancients used to go out and copulate in the fields to "teach" the plants what to do. I recall a very good episode of Rome on the subject. But now it's Commie day
(and believe me, I miss the tank and missile parades through Red Square in Moscow). The change, I find, is just weird. Sex to Communist. Who could have foreseen that?
And Mid-Summer (August 1)? That's just gone missing (subsumed here by the Independence day celebration) with a tantalizing look at its ancient roots contained in Shakespeare's play containing the name of the day.
Labels: Cross-Quarter Holidays, May Day