World Events Calendar: May Events

February 11, 2010 at 11:52 am Leave a comment

For some the celebration of ancient rituals, for others a day for political demonstration and for others still, simply an excuse for a good party, the first of May, or May Day, is a significant occasion for many cultures all around the globe.

Primo Maggio, RomeIn Rome, for example, a grand music festival called Primo Maggio is held in the Piazza San Giovanni at the heart of the city. The line-up for this free event is only released a few days before the actual date, but big names from the classical and popular music worlds are guaranteed.

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Beltane, UK and IrelandAcross the British Isles, May Day celebrations have their roots in traditional pagan festivities. In Ireland, the first of May marks the beginning of summer, in keeping with the Gaelic festival of Beltane. Beltane is also recognised in Scotland, and an annual Festival of Fire is held on the evening of 30th April on Edinburgh’s Calton Hill. In England, traditional May Day activities such as dancing round the maypole and morris dancing can still be witnessed in many villages and towns throughout country.

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Cavalcade of SardiniaIn Sardinia, people from all over the island flock to the historic town of Sassari to witness the famous Cavalcata (Cavalcade). Highlighting the start of a month of cultural events, the Cavalcade of Sassari was originally a grand spectacle laid on in honour of visiting royalty, and is now one of the most high profile events in Sardinia. A horseback procession precedes an elaborate parade in which each participant dons the traditional costume of their village. This is followed by horse racing, dressage and stunts at the local race track.

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The Great SaunterIn New York, May Day activities take a different form. Each year, hundreds of people gather on the shores of Manhattan for the Great Saunter, a 32-mile walk around the island. Now in its 25th year, the event, organised by Shorewalkers, offers participants the opportunity to ‘see Manhattan at three miles per hour!’

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