May… we help?

Bank Holiday Monday – UK

This weekend sees the May Bank Holiday in the UK, a three day weekend, where historically banks and businesses would close.

Weather

It’s a running joke in the UK that, on the day that we have a day off work due to the bank

Weather Forecast May Bank Holiday
Courtesy of Weather.com

holiday, it rains.

The forecast, for the South East, at least, on Monday 2nd May, says cloudy, but not necessarily any rain.

 

Origins

The May Day holiday is the fourth of eight bank holidays in the UK.

British bank holidays are public holidays and have been recognised since 1871. [1]

The name Bank Holiday comes from the time when banks were shut and so no trading could take place. [1]

The first of May was the bank holiday, however, in modern times, it has moved to the first Monday in May, for convenience for schools and businesses, creating a long weekend.

Traditions

There are many traditions that surround the 1st of May, predominantly to do with the warmer weather and the onset of summer, after a long winter. The earliest celebration can be traced back 2000 years, where  Floralia, festival of Flora, the Roman goddess of flowers, was celebrated. [2]

Much of the May Day celebrations derive from the pagan Anglo-Saxon customs held during “Þrimilci-mōnaþ” as well as old Celtic traditions.

“The Old English name for the month of May means Month of Three Milkings.”

May Pole

In the past, people would cut down young trees and put them in the ground on the village green, tie ribbons to the top, and dance around to mark the arrival of the warm weather.

The dancers would weave in and out of each other, in opposite directions, effectively causing a plait-like effect with the ribbons. Maypoles were popular all over the country, and school children would practice for weeks before May Day to ensure they were able to remember the dance on the day.

May Queen

May Queens were, and still are,  human representations of the Roman goddess, Flora. A May Queen might be chosen from a group of young women, aged 13 and above, who had either performed a dance or similar, and would lead the procession.

Another tradition associated with the idea of choosing a May Queen, is the May Lifiting. On the first of May, in the old days, the young men of the village would choose the prettiest girl in the village and carry her around on their shoulders. On the second of May, the girl would choose a boy.

Morris Dancing

Morris dancing may have originated from several different places. The name Morris may be traced, possibly, back to a form of dancing that arrived in England with the arrival of the Moors from North Africa. Alternatively, the name of the dance may be so called because the dancers looked  Moor-ish, with their darker complexions. The dancers sometimes painted their faces black. [1]

Across England, the Morris dancers can be identified by their clothes. They are often dressed in white with coloured baldrics (coloured belts) across their chests. [1]

The formation of the Morris dance consists of either six or eight men, in two lines facing each other or in a circle. Part of their costume is white hankies or sticks, that they wave or shake. Some Morris dancers have bells tied to their knees to add to the music and their calls. [1]

1st May round the World

1297985112_industrial-workers-of-the-world.jpg

Around the world, the 1st of May is widely associated with commemorating the advancing of labour movements. It is known as Labour Day or International Worker’s Day.

In the US, in 1884, the American Federation of Organized Trades and Labor Unions demanded an eight-hour workday, to come in effect as of 1 May 1886. This resulted in the general strike and the Haymarket Riot of 1886, but eventually also in the official sanction of the eight-hour workday. [3] Labour Day, despite the auspicious date, is actually celebrated on the first Monday of September.

Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the Netherlands also celebrate Labour Day on different dates; though that has to do with how the holiday originated in those countries. [3]

May we help?

Fingertips Typing Services can help with your labours, even if you have to work on any of the UK bank holidays. Visit us to find out more.

 

Written by: Debbie Rowe – Typist for Fingertips Typing

Resources

[1] http://resources.woodlands-junior.kent.sch.uk/customs/bankholidays.html

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/May_Day#Great_Britain

[3] http://www.officeholidays.com/countries/global/may_day.php

 

 

Advertisements

Sermons

Easter Sunday  2016

All across the country, and the world, families celebrate Easter in a host of different ways, both religious and non-religious.

Easter represents the resurrection of Jesus over 2000 years ago. But how was it decided when Easter falls, especially when it falls on different dates each year. The dates change with the lunar calendar rather than a fixed date in the Julian [1] or Gregorian [2] calendar.

Computus

Computus [3] is the name given to the calculation used to find the calendar date for Easter. This procedure has been used since the Middle Ages, as it was believed to be the most important computation of the time.

The calculation means that Easter will fall on the first Sunday after the first full moon after Spring Equinox. The earliest and latest dates for Easter are 22 March and 25 April.

Sermons

Those who write the sermons for Easter, indeed for any religious ceremony, work long and hard to create inspiring material for their congregations. With religious dates, there is a topic to write about. For everyday sermons, the inspiration may come from local or world events, to engage, to teach, to reinforce, to preach.

Sermons don’t have to stay in the place of worship these days. With wider access to mobile technology, sermons can be shared in an instant through email and social media. For those who were unable to attend the service, an audio recording can be made and uploaded as a podcast. For those who like to revisit the sermon, or read at their leisure, the recordings can be transcribed and made available for e-readers around the world.

Fingertips Typing Services can transcribe sermons.

Written by: Debbie Rowe, Transcriber for Fingertips Typing Services.

Visit Fingertips Typing Services.

Resources

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Julian_calendar
[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gregorian_calendar
[3] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Computus

Transcription and Oral Histories

Is there a tradition or a story that has been handed down the generations in your family? It’s not written down anywhere,  just been told, from one person to another. There must be some truth in it somewhere but it’s been added to and embellished, blurred and reimagined through time.

This telling and retelling is as old as language itself. Since Man began to form words, stories are told to the young as warnings, as lessons, as bedtime tales. Before we could write, things were passed on verbally, and still it happens today. Indigenous tribes across the world have historically passed their knowledge and experiences along the familial lines through verbal accounts and rememberings. Continue reading Transcription and Oral Histories