Contributed By: Maria Cervantes Gonzalez
If you were to time travel back to May 1st sometime in the 1950s, the Simmons campus would look entirely different. There would be women dressed in full medieval costumes and long tables on the quad, covered with strawberries, would be laid across the lawn.
It is hard to believe, but this is what May Day looked like over 50 years ago. Now, there are no costumes and the tables are now kept indoors. However, May Day has been kept alive at Simmons since 1912, making it the longest running tradition in the college's history.
In the past 102 years, May Day was originally held on May 1st, but is now celebrated at Simmons on the last Sunday of April. The Simmons sophomore class traditionally puts on May Day every year.
The holiday originated as a pagan festival in the Northern Hemisphere. The earliest May Day festivities date back to ancient Rome. The Romans celebrated Flora, the Roman goddess of flowers, with festivities that lasted six days and included games, dancing, and food.
After the rise of Christianity in Europe, the holiday died out in many parts of the continent and was then replaced by the popular Christian holiday of Easter.
In the late 1800s, May Day gained a new meaning - International Workers' Day. Workers in the United States wanted a shorter work day. Although it took time, the efforts of these people were successful.
Most recently, in 2006, May Day became a day to raise awareness to the millions of undocumented Latino immigrant workers in the United States. Since then, May 1st has been used to protest the rights of not only Latino workers, but all workers in the United States.
This year the sophomore class brought some traditions back and incorporated new ones. May Day begun at 8:45 a.m. on Sunday morning, April 27th, with members of the sophomore class and first-year class waking up the seniors with pots and pans. Due to the rain, the ceremony was moved to Alumnae Hall. President Drinan and Dean Neil welcomed the Simmons community to the end of the year and the start of spring. Trustee Kathy LaPoint reminded us how important it is to tie the past and the present. She also celebrated May Day when she was a student here.
The 2016 class council also brought the awareness of sex trafficking in the Boston area. They held a vigil that night to honor those women and children who have been affected by this social injustice. The class also gave the May Pole a makeover by painting it white and having the ribbons represent each of the current class colors. Elsie Mayo ('16) choreographed a dance to the song "Happy" by Pharell Williams. Even President Drinan got up to dance with the students. The senior class council and SGA executive board members received their stoles. It was a great May Day and one to remember!