100th Anniversary Remarks

The following text is taken from a speech by Professor Gary Bailey given during the celebration of the 100th May Day at Simmons.


Students celebrate both the traditional and more political aspects of the May Day tradition during the 1967 celebration at Simmons College. 

The theologian and author Dr. Ben Witherington said: “A text without a context is just a pretext for making it mean whatever you want it to mean.” 

[…] Some of us have heard the term “Mayday” used which is also a nautical term. Mayday as a distress call is used only in cases of "grave and imminent danger." […] Interestingly enough the phrase has nothing to do with the observance of May Day “Mayday" in this context is an anglicized version of the French m'aidez (help me) or m'aider (to render help to me). […] May Day is a national holiday for workers in more than 80 countries. May 1st is also known as International Workers’ Day and is a celebration of the international labor movement.



May King Marjorie Burroughs ('62) feeding May Queen Grace Richardson ('60) breakfast during May Day ceremony.

[…] May Day, also stems from ancient customs associated with the celebration of spring, fertility and is represented by symbols such as the May pole, Mayday baskets and garlands of flowers. The first May day protest and the earliest use of the Maypole in America occurred in 1628, where William Bradford, governor of New Plymouth, wrote of an incident where a number of servants, together with the aid of an agent, broke free from their indentured servitude to create their own colony, setting up a maypole in the center of the settlement, and behaving in such a way as to receive the scorn and disapproval of the nearby colonies, as well as an official officer of the king, it seems that they danced, frolicked, and seem to have partied- heartily!

 […] So on this 100th Simmons May Day 2012- this centennial celebration- let’s remember, who and what has come before us – and let us lay the groundwork and the foundation for those who will come after us – adding new things to old traditions - Envisioning our Past and Imagining their Future, transforming our own learning which links passion with our lifelong purpose!

100th Anniversary Remarks