Students celebrate May Day festival

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Flower crowns, maypoles, henna and live bands were the highlights of this year’s May Day Festival.

The festival took place on the Cascade lawn Saturday, May 2 .

Anthropology/Sociology Club, Residence Hall Association (RHA), ACE Board and the History Club collaborated to bring May Day back to campus. History professor and Director for Center for Gender Equity Martha Rampton brought in her own maypole and let the students use it for this historic holiday.

The May Day festival was actually celebrated at Pacific University before.

What started in 1914 and lasted through the early 1960s, not only brought the campus together to celebrate the arrival of Spring, but it also invited the Forest Grove community to participate.

During its heyday, it was called Forest Grove’s May Day at Pacific University.

The origin of May Day is rooted in the Pagan calendar and is one of the eight celebrated holidays.

“Paganism essentially has eight holidays, it’s all of the Equinoxes and Solstices and the midpoints in between those,” said the Secretary of Anthro/Soc Club Chelsea Hill. “The night before May 1 is Beltane which is the pagan celebration of welcoming in spring.”

Originally the May Day festival was going to be the annual BoxerStock, the end of the year celebration put on by ACE Board and RHA.

But this year, according to junior Hill, Anthro/Soc Club approached ACE Board and RHA to collaborate and found out that Chair of ACE Board Jessica Cueva Caves was looking for a new theme for Boxerstock.

“At the beginning of the semester we were talking about how we could revitalize the Anthro/Soc club and so we were kind of just thinking of different cultural holidays that we could bring to campus,” said Hill. “We decided to collaborate and that worked out really well because ACE Board already had a lot of it set up and we brought in the theme to it to make it May Day.”

The events that were specifically May Day themed were flower crowns that students could make, participating in the maypole activity and the May Kings and Queens.

Greek life on campus was involved by providing May Queens and Kings for the festivities.

“We thought it would be cool to involve Greek life since it was previously sororities that would elect may princesses and they would crown a May Queen,” said Hill. “We didn’t want to do that because it would be a popularity contest, so we said everybody can have a queen and a king so it could be a big party for everyone.”

Over 400 people participated in the May Day Festival. According to Publicitt Chair for ACE Board Sterling Bax, everyone had a great time.

“It was super energetic, everybody was stoked and it was sunny,” said Bax. “It was probably what May Day was supposed to be like and everybody was bright and happy.”

ACE Board and RHA were able to bring two bands to play for the festival, The Village and Roots Knight.

Also senior Greg Schroeder and junior Dione Solon performed at the concert.

Next year senior Bax hopes to bring back more festival food.

Hill hopes that next year’s celebration is able to bring in more historical and educational aspects of the holiday.

Bringing back a 50-year tradition had challenges but it was able to reconnect the students of today with the previous generations.

“No matter what it is going to be a commodified version of the original,” said Hill. “We tried to keep the traditions like the May queens and the maypole, those are really important traditions, but we also wanted to bring in that modern twist because we are a new generation of Pacific.”


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